SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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CONSEQUENCES FOR JUVENILE OFFENDERS ACT OF 2001
SUBCOMMITTEE ON CRIME
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SEVENTH CONGRESS
MARCH 8, 2001
Serial No. 1
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Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary
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Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20402
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, JR., WISCONSIN, Chairman
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois
GEORGE W. GEKAS, Pennsylvania
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
LAMAR S. SMITH, Texas
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
BOB BARR, Georgia
WILLIAM L. JENKINS, Tennessee
ASA HUTCHINSON, Arkansas
CHRIS CANNON, Utah
LINDSEY O. GRAHAM, South Carolina
SPENCER BACHUS, Alabama
JOE SCARBOROUGH, Florida
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana
MARK GREEN, Wisconsin
RIC KELLER, Florida
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCDARRELL E. ISSA, California
MELISSA A. HART, Pennsylvania
JEFF FLAKE, Arizona
JOHN CONYERS, Jr., Michigan
BARNEY FRANK, Massachusetts
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
RICK BOUCHER, Virginia
JERROLD NADLER, New York
ROBERT C. SCOTT, Virginia
MELVIN L. WATT, North Carolina
ZOE LOFGREN, California
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
MAXINE WATERS, California
MARTIN T. MEEHAN, Massachusetts
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
TAMMY BALDWIN, Wisconsin
ANTHONY D. WEINER, New York
ADAM B. SCHIFF, California
TODD R. SCHULTZ, Chief of Staff
PHILIP G. KIKO, General Counsel
Subcommittee on Crime
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCLAMAR S. SMITH, Texas, Chairman
MARK GREEN, Wisconsin
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
BOB BARR, Georgia
ASA HUTCHINSON, Arkansas,
RIC KELLER, Florida
ROBERT C. SCOTT, Virginia
ANTHONY D. WEINER, New York
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
MARTIN T. MEEHAN, Massachusetts
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
GLENN R. SCHMITT, Chief Counsel
SEAN MCLAUGHLIN, Counsel
ELIZABETH SOKUL, Counsel
BOBBY VASSAR, Minority Counsel
C O N T E N T S
March 8, 2001
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The Honorable Lamar S. Smith, a Representative in Congress From the State of Texas, and Chairman, Subcommittee on Crime
The Honorable Michael J. Anderegg, Presiding Judge, Family Division, Marquette County Circuit Court, Marquette, Michigan
The Honorable James W. Payne, Judge, Juvenile Division, Marion Superior Court, Indianapolis, Indiana
Mr. Steve Robinson, Executive Director, Texas Youth Commission, Austin, Texas
Mr. Vincent N. Schiraldi, Founder and Executive Director, Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, Washington, DC
LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING
Bipartisan Working Group On Youth Violence, Final Report
The Honorable Michael J. Anderegg, Presiding Judge, Family Division, Marquette County Circuit Court, Marquette, Michigan: Prepared statement
The Honorable James W. Payne, Judge, Juvenile Division, Marion Superior Court, Indianapolis, Indiana: Prepared statement
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Steve Robinson, Executive Director, Texas Youth Commission, Autin, Texas: Prepared statement
Mr. Vincent N. Schiraldi, Founder and Executive Director, Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, Washington, DC: Prepared statement
The Honorable Lamar S. Smith, Chairman, Subcommittee on Crime, Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives: Prepared statement
The Honorable Bob Barr, Member, Subcommittee on Crime, Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives: Prepared statement
LEGISLATIVE HEARING ON H.R. 863, THE CONSEQUENCES FOR JUVENILE OFFENDERS ACT OF 2001
THURSDAY, MARCH 8, 2001
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Crime
Committee on the Judiciary,
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 1:55 p.m., in Room 2237, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Lamar Smith [Chairman of the Subcommittee] presiding.
[The bill H.R. 863 follows:]
HR 863 IH
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H. R. 863
To provide grants to ensure increased accountability for juvenile offenders.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
MARCH 6, 2001
Mr. SMITH of Texas (for himself, Mr. SCOTT, Mr. BARR of Georgia, Mr. CHABOT, Mr. COBLE, Mr. DELAHUNT, Mr. GOODLATTE, Mr. GREEN of Wisconsin, Mr. HUTCHINSON, Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas, Mr. KELLER, Mr. MEEHAN, and Mr. WEINER) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
To provide grants to ensure increased accountability for juvenile offenders.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ''Consequences for Juvenile Offenders Act of 2001''.
SEC. 2. GRANT PROGRAM.
(a) IN GENERAL.Part R of title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3796 et seq.) is amended to read as follows:
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC''PART RJUVENILE ACCOUNTABILITY BLOCK GRANTS
''SEC. 1801. PROGRAM AUTHORIZED.
''(a) IN GENERAL.The Attorney General is authorized to provide grants to States, for use by States and units of local government, and in certain cases directly to specially qualified units.
''(b) AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES.Amounts paid to a State or a unit of local government under this part shall be used by the State or unit of local government for the purpose of strengthening the juvenile justice system, which includes
''(1) developing, implementing, and administering graduated sanctions for juvenile offenders;
''(2) building, expanding, renovating, or operating temporary or permanent juvenile correction, detention, or community corrections facilities;
''(3) hiring juvenile court judges, probation officers, and court-appointed defenders and special advocates, and funding pretrial services for juvenile offenders, to promote the effective and expeditious administration of the juvenile justice system;
''(4) hiring additional prosecutors, so that more cases involving violent juvenile offenders can be prosecuted and case backlogs reduced;
''(5) providing funding to enable prosecutors to address drug, gang, and youth violence problems more effectively and for technology, equipment, and training to assist prosecutors in identifying and expediting the prosecution of violent juvenile offenders;
''(6) establishing and maintaining training programs for law enforcement and other court personnel with respect to preventing and controlling juvenile crime;
''(7) establishing juvenile gun courts for the prosecution and adjudication of juvenile firearms offenders;
''(8) establishing drug court programs for juvenile offenders that provide continuing judicial supervision over juvenile offenders with substance abuse problems and the integrated administration of other sanctions and services for such offenders;
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC ''(9) establishing and maintaining a system of juvenile records designed to promote public safety;
''(10) establishing and maintaining interagency information-sharing programs that enable the juvenile and criminal justice system, schools, and social services agencies to make more informed decisions regarding the early identification, control, supervision, and treatment of juveniles who repeatedly commit serious delinquent or criminal acts;
''(11) establishing and maintaining accountability-based programs designed to reduce recidivism among juveniles who are referred by law enforcement personnel or agencies;
''(12) establishing and maintaining programs to conduct risk and need assessments of juvenile offenders that facilitate the effective early intervention and the provision of comprehensive services, including mental health screening and treatment and substance abuse testing and treatment to such offenders; and
''(13) establishing and maintaining accountability-based programs that are designed to enhance school safety.
''SEC. 1802. GRANT ELIGIBILITY.
''(a) STATE ELIGIBILITY.To be eligible to receive a grant under this section, a State shall submit to the Attorney General an application at such time, in such form, and containing such assurances and information as the Attorney General may require by rule, including assurances that the State and any unit of local government to which the State provides funding under section 1803(b), has in effect (or shall have in effect, not later than 1 year after the date that the State submits such application) laws, or has implemented (or shall implement, not later than 1 year after the date that the State submits such application) policies and programs, that provide for a system of graduated sanctions described in subsection (c).
''(b) LOCAL ELIGIBILITY.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC ''(1) SUBGRANT ELIGIBILITY.To be eligible to receive a subgrant, a unit of local government, other than a specially qualified unit, shall provide such assurances to the State as the State shall require, that, to the maximum extent applicable, the unit of local government has in effect (or shall have in effect, not later than 1 year after the date that the unit submits such application) laws, or has implemented (or shall implement, not later than 1 year after the date that the unit submits such application) policies and programs, that provide for a system of graduated sanctions described in subsection (c).
''(2) SPECIAL RULE.The requirements of paragraph (1) shall apply to a specially qualified unit that receives funds from the Attorney General under section 1803(e), except that information that is otherwise required to be submitted to the State shall be submitted to the Attorney General.
''(c) GRADUATED SANCTIONS.A system of graduated sanctions, which may be discretionary as provided in subsection (d), shall ensure, at a minimum, that
''(1) sanctions are imposed on a juvenile offender for each delinquent offense;
''(2) sanctions escalate in intensity with each subsequent, more serious delinquent offense;
''(3) there is sufficient flexibility to allow for individualized sanctions and services suited to the individual juvenile offender; and
''(4) appropriate consideration is given to public safety and victims of crime.
''(d) DISCRETIONARY USE OF SANCTIONS.
''(1) VOLUNTARY PARTICIPATION.A State or unit of local government may be eligible to receive a grant under this part if
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC ''(A) its system of graduated sanctions is discretionary; and
''(B) it demonstrates that it has promoted the use of a system of graduated sanctions by taking steps to encourage implementation of such a system by juvenile courts.
''(2) REPORTING REQUIREMENT IF GRADUATED SANCTIONS NOT USED.
''(A) JUVENILE COURTS.A State or unit of local government in which the imposition of graduated sanctions is discretionary shall require each juvenile court within its jurisdiction
''(i) which has not implemented a system of graduated sanctions, to submit an annual report that explains why such court did not implement graduated sanctions; and
''(ii) which has implemented a system of graduated sanctions but has not imposed graduated sanctions in 1 or more specific cases, to submit an annual report that explains why such court did not impose graduated sanctions in each such case.
''(B) UNITS OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT.Each unit of local government, other than a specially qualified unit, that has 1 or more juvenile courts that use a discretionary system of graduated sanctions shall collect the information reported under subparagraph (A) for submission to the State each year.
''(C) STATES.Each State and specially qualified unit that has 1 or more juvenile courts that use a discretionary system of graduated sanctions shall collect the information reported under subparagraph (A) for submission to the Attorney General each year. A State shall also collect and submit to the Attorney General the information collected under subparagraph (B).
''(e) DEFINITIONS.For purposes of this section:
''(1) The term 'discretionary' means that a system of graduated sanctions is not required to be imposed by each and every juvenile court in a State or unit of local government.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC ''(2) The term 'sanctions' means tangible, proportional consequences that hold the juvenile offender accountable for the offense committed. A sanction may include counseling, restitution, community service, a fine, supervised probation, or confinement.
''SEC. 1803. ALLOCATION AND DISTRIBUTION OF FUNDS.
''(a) STATE ALLOCATION.
''(1) IN GENERAL.In accordance with regulations promulgated pursuant to this part and except as provided in paragraph (3), the Attorney General shall allocate
''(A) 0.25 percent for each State; and
''(B) of the total funds remaining after the allocation under subparagraph (A), to each State, an amount which bears the same ratio to the amount of remaining funds described in this subparagraph as the population of people under the age of 18 living in such State for the most recent calendar year in which such data is available bears to the population of people under the age of 18 of all the States for such fiscal year.
''(2) PROHIBITION.No funds allocated to a State under this subsection or received by a State for distribution under subsection (b) may be distributed by the Attorney General or by the State involved for any program other than a program contained in an approved application.
''(3) INCREASE FOR STATE RESERVE.
''(A) IN GENERAL.Subject to subparagraph (B), if a State demonstrates and certifies
to the Attorney General that the State's law enforcement expenditures in the fiscal year preceding the date in which an application is submitted under this part is more than 25 percent of the aggregate amount of law enforcement expenditures by the State and its eligible units of local government, the percentage referred to in paragraph (1)(A) shall equal the percentage determined by dividing the State's law enforcement expenditures by such aggregate.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC ''(B) LAW ENFORCEMENT EXPENDITURES OVER 50 PERCENT.If the law enforcement expenditures of a State exceed 50 percent of the aggregate amount described in subparagraph (A), the Attorney General shall consult with as many units of local government in such State as practicable regarding the State's proposed uses of funds.
''(b) LOCAL DISTRIBUTION.
''(1) IN GENERAL.Except as provided in subsection (a)(3), each State which receives funds under subsection (a)(1) in a fiscal year shall distribute not less than 75 percent of such amounts received among units of local government, for the purposes specified in section 1801. In making such distribution the State shall allocate to such units of local government an amount which bears the same ratio to the aggregate amount of such funds as
''(A) the sum of
''(i) the product of
''(I) three-quarters; multiplied by
''(II) the average law enforcement expenditure for such unit of local government for the 3 most recent calendar years for which such data is available; plus
''(ii) the product of
''(I) one-quarter; multiplied by
''(II) the average annual number of part 1 violent crimes in such unit of local government for the 3 most recent calendar years for which such data is available, bears to
''(B) the sum of the products determined under subparagraph (A) for all such units of local government in the State.
''(2) EXPENDITURES.The allocation any unit of local government shall receive under paragraph (1) for a payment period shall not exceed 100 percent of law enforcement expenditures of the unit for such payment period.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC ''(3) REALLOCATION.The amount of any unit of local government's allocation that is not available to such unit by operation of paragraph (2) shall be available to other units of local government that are not affected by such operation in accordance with this subsection.
''(c) UNAVAILABILITY OF DATA FOR UNITS OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT.If the State has reason to believe that the reported rate of part 1 violent crimes or law enforcement expenditures for a unit of local government is insufficient or inaccurate, the State shall
''(1) investigate the methodology used by the unit to determine the accuracy of the submitted data; and
''(2) if necessary, use the best available comparable data regarding the number of violent crimes or law enforcement expenditures for the relevant years for the unit of local government.
''(d) LOCAL GOVERNMENT WITH ALLOCATIONS LESS THAN $5,000.If under this section a unit of local government is allocated less than $5,000 for a payment period, the amount allotted shall be expended by the State on services to units of local government whose allotment is less than such amount in a manner consistent with this part.
''(e) DIRECT GRANTS TO SPECIALLY QUALIFIED UNITS.
''(1) IN GENERAL.If a State does not qualify or apply for funds reserved for allocation under subsection (a) by the application deadline established by the Attorney General, the Attorney General shall reserve not more than 75 percent of the allocation that the State would have received under subsection (a) for such fiscal year to provide grants to specially qualified units which meet the requirements for funding under section 1802.
''(2) AWARD BASIS.In addition to the qualification requirements for direct grants for specially qualified units the Attorney General may use the average amount allocated by the States to units of local government as a basis for awarding grants under this section.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC''SEC. 1804. REGULATIONS.
''(a) IN GENERAL.The Attorney General shall issue regulations establishing procedures under which a State or unit of local government that receives funds under section 1803 is required to provide notice to the Attorney General regarding the proposed use of funds made available under this part.
''(b) ADVISORY BOARD.The regulations referred to in subsection (a) shall include a requirement that such eligible State or unit of local government establish and convene an advisory board to review the proposed uses of such funds. The board shall include representation from, if appropriate
''(1) the State or local police department;
''(2) the local sheriff's department;
''(3) the State or local prosecutor's office;
''(4) the State or local juvenile court;
''(5) the State or local probation officer;
''(6) the State or local educational agency;
''(7) a State or local social service agency; and
''(8) a nonprofit, religious, or community group.
''SEC. 1805. PAYMENT REQUIREMENTS.
''(a) TIMING OF PAYMENTS.The Attorney General shall pay to each State or unit of local government that receives funds under section 1803 that has submitted an application under this part not later than
''(1) 90 days after the date that the amount is available, or
''(2) the first day of the payment period if the State has provided the Attorney General with the assurances required by subsection (c),
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCwhichever is later.
''(b) REPAYMENT OF UNEXPENDED AMOUNTS.
''(1) REPAYMENT REQUIRED.From amounts awarded under this part, a State or specially qualified unit shall repay to the Attorney General, or a unit of local government shall repay to the State by not later than 27 months after receipt of funds from the Attorney General, any amount that is not expended by the State within 2 years after receipt of such funds from the Attorney General.
''(2) PENALTY FOR FAILURE TO REPAY.If the amount required to be repaid is not repaid, the Attorney General shall reduce payment in future payment periods accordingly.
''(3) DEPOSIT OF AMOUNTS REPAID.Amounts received by the Attorney General as repayments under this subsection shall be deposited in a designated fund for future payments to States and specially qualified units.
''(c) ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS.A State or unit of local government that receives funds under this part may use not more than 5 percent of such funds to pay for administrative costs.
''(d) NONSUPPLANTING REQUIREMENT.Funds made available under this part to States and units of local government shall not be used to supplant State or local funds as the case may be, but shall be used to increase the amount of funds that would, in the absence of funds made available under this part, be made available from State or local sources, as the case may be.
''(e) MATCHING FUNDS.The Federal share of a grant received under this part may not exceed 90 percent of the costs of a program or proposal funded under this part.
''SEC. 1806. UTILIZATION OF PRIVATE SECTOR.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC ''Funds or a portion of funds allocated under this part may be used by a State or unit of local government that receives a grant under this part to contract with private, nonprofit entities, or community-based organizations to carry out the purposes specified under section 1801(b).
''SEC. 1807. ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS.
''(a) IN GENERAL.A State or specially qualified unit that receives funds under this part shall
''(1) establish a trust fund in which the government will deposit all payments received under this part;
''(2) use amounts in the trust fund (including interest) during a period not to exceed 2 years from the date the first grant payment is made to the State or specially qualified unit;
''(3) designate an official of the State or specially qualified unit to submit reports as the Attorney General reasonably requires, in addition to the annual reports required under this part; and
''(4) spend the funds only for the purposes under section 1801(b).
''(b) TITLE I PROVISIONS.Except as otherwise provided, the administrative provisions of part H shall apply to this part and for purposes of this section any reference in such provisions to title I shall be deemed to include a reference to this part.
''SEC. 1808. DEFINITIONS.
''For purposes of this part:
''(1) The term 'unit of local government' means
''(A) a county, township, city, or political subdivision of a county, township, or city, that is a unit of local government as determined by the Secretary of Commerce for general statistical purposes; and
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC ''(B) the District of Columbia and the recognized governing body of an Indian tribe or Alaskan Native village that carries out substantial governmental duties and powers.
''(2) The term 'specially qualified unit' means a unit of local government which may receive funds under this part only in accordance with section 1803(e).
''(3) The term 'State' means any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands, except that American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands shall be considered as 1 State and that, for purposes of section 1803(a), 33 percent of the amounts allocated shall be allocated to American Samoa, 50 percent to Guam, and 17 percent to the Northern Mariana Islands.
''(4) The term 'juvenile' means an individual who is 17 years of age or younger.
''(5) The term 'law enforcement expenditures' means the expenditures associated with prosecutorial, legal, and judicial services, and corrections as reported to the Bureau of the Census for the fiscal year preceding the fiscal year for which a determination is made under this part.
''(6) The term 'part 1 violent crimes' means murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault as reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for purposes of the Uniform Crime Reports.
''SEC. 1809. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.
''(a) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this part
''(1) $500,000,000 for fiscal year 2002;
''(2) $500,000,000 for fiscal year 2003; and
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC ''(3) $500,000,000 for fiscal year 2004.
''(b) OVERSIGHT ACCOUNTABILITY AND ADMINISTRATION.Not more than 3 percent of the amount authorized to be appropriated under subsection (a), with such amounts to remain available until expended, for each of the fiscal years 2002 through 2004 shall be available to the Attorney General for evaluation and research regarding the overall effectiveness and efficiency of the provisions of this part, assuring compliance with the provisions of this part, and for administrative costs to carry out the purposes of this part. The Attorney General shall establish and execute an oversight plan for monitoring the activities of grant recipients.
''(c) FUNDING SOURCE.Appropriations for activities authorized in this part may be made from the Violent Crime Reduction Trust Fund.''.
(b) CLERICAL AMENDMENTS.The table of contents of title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 is amended by striking the item relating to part R and inserting the following:
''Part RJuvenile Accountability Block Grants
''Sec. 1801. Program authorized.
''Sec. 1802. Grant eligibility.
''Sec. 1803. Allocation and distribution of funds.
''Sec. 1804. Regulations.
''Sec. 1805. Payment requirements.
''Sec. 1806. Utilization of private sector.
''Sec. 1807. Administrative provisions.
''Sec. 1808. Definitions.
''Sec. 1809. Authorization of appropriations.''.
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Mr. SMITH. The Subcommittee on Crime will come to order. I apologize to you all who have an interest in this subject, but I think everyone realizes that we have had a series of votes. I think there were five or six votes over the last hour or we would have been able to start at one o'clock.
Nevertheless, we appreciate everybody's interest in a most important subject, and this is a subject, the unfortunate subject is perhaps indicated by the fact that this is our first hearing of the year, and the first hearing since I became Subcommittee Chair.
I am particularly pleased, and will mention him in a minute during my opening statement, that Bobby Scott is the Ranking Member of this Crime Subcommittee. He has served in that position before and we all will benefit from his good advice, counsel and expertise.
I am going to start off and I do have an opening statement, and then I will turn to the Ranking Member for his opening statement. I then will hear from our witnesses as soon as possible after that.
Today, the Subcommittee on Crime holds its first hearing of the 107th Congress, and it seems fitting that for our first hearing we will focus on a bill that addresses the place where a career of crime often begins: with juvenile offenders.
In 1999, law enforcement agencies made an estimated 2.5 million juvenile arrests. In fact, juvenile arrests accounted for 17 percent of all arrests and 16 percent of all violent crime arrests. In the vast majority of these cases, juveniles are treated differently than adult offenders in terms of the courts that adjudicate them, how and where they are confined, and for how long they are under the custody and control of the government.
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In recent years, experts in the area of juvenile crime have begun to urge that more attention be paid to juvenile offenders at earlier times in their lives. At hearings held by the Crime Subcommittee in the last Congress, broad agreement was expressed by the witnesses that government needs to address juvenile misconduct earlier than we do at present, that government at all levels should dedicate more funds to the juvenile justice system, that state and localities should be given more flexibility in using Federal funds for this purpose, and that judges need a greater range of sanctions to address juvenile wrongdoing.
A system of punishment commonly called ''graduated sanctions'' would ensure that juvenile offenders learn that there are consequences to their actions each time they misbehave, beginning with the first time.
The witnesses testified that by sanctioning juvenile offenders from their first act of delinquency and by employing increased sanctions each successive time they misbehave, we are far more likely to break the cycle of delinquency that often leads juveniles into more serious crimes in their late teens or early adult years.
As a result of that hearing, my predecessor as Chairman of the Subcommittee, Representative Bill McCollum, together with the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee, Mr. Scott, introduced H.R. 1501. That bill, which was cosponsored by all of the Members of the Crime Subcommittee, would have provided funds to states to strengthen their juvenile justice systems.
To be eligible for these funds, states must agree to implement a system of graduated sanctions for juvenile offenders. While that bill passed the House by a vote of 287 to 139, a number of amendments were added to the bill on the floor. As a result, the House and Senate were unable to agree on a final version of that bill and it did not become law.
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I am pleased that Mr. Scott has joined me in this new Congress to introduce H.R. 863, the Consequences for Juvenile Offenders Act of 2001, a bill identical to H.R. 1501 as reported by this Subcommittee in the 106th Congress, and I am very appreciative that all Members of the Subcommittee have agreed to cosponsor this bill. I hope that we will be able to move it through this Congress expeditiously.
Today, we will hear from four witnesses who deal with juvenile offenders everyday, two juvenile court judges, the executive director of the Texas Youth Commission, and the founder of a non-profit organization that develops programs to develop juvenile delinquency. They know firsthand the problems that juveniles face and how best that government can intervene in the lives of juvenile offenders to turn them from further crime and toward productive lives.
I will look forward to hearing from the witnesses about steps the Federal Government can take to help states and local governments address the problem of juvenile crime. Now that concludes my opening statement.
I will now recognize the Ranking Member, Mr. Scott, of Virginia.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I am pleased to join you at this opening hearing, the first of your career as Chairman of the Crime Subcommittee. I believe that through this hearing and through the testimony of the witnesses, we will reveal that we have before us a sound bill with the appropriate approach to effectively address juvenile crime and delinquency.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC All too often we hear when we deal with the crime issues sound bites that are codified, sound bites that do nothing to reduce crime, many of which, in fact, increase crime. I think, as you have pointed out, we have had hearings and researchers testify that the approach that we have adopted will actually do something to reduce crime.
So I am pleased that we have before us the advice of juvenile judges and researchers and practitioners such as the ones we have today. The prior hearing that you mentioned in March 1999 provided the testimonial basis for that bill. It provides for holding juveniles accountable for their actions and adequately addressing their needs for services starting with an appropriate response when a delinquent offense first occurs and escalating the level of response to any succeeding offense until the problem is eliminated.
This addresses the fact that many of the juvenile court judges presented at the hearing that they only had before them probation, probation, probation, fourth offense, probation, sixth offense, probation, eighth offense, well, you jump up and down and try them as an adult. Well, if you had done something on first, second, third, fourth, fifth offense, maybe the eighth offense may not have occurred.
Twelve witnesses at that hearing consisting of juvenile judges, researchers, practitioners, conservatives, liberals, Democrats and Republicans, all told us the essential thing, that we need early intervention if we are going to properly address juvenile crime.
I would also point out that the sanctions that the juveniles will be subject to as they come before the juvenile justice system can include services individually tailored to the particular juvenile so that we are not stuck with a one-size-fits-all approach.
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I would also say, Mr. Chairman, that the Speaker of the House appointed a bipartisan committee after the bill, as you pointed out, fell apart, and our bill is absolutely consistent with the findings of that subcommittee.
Unfortunately, as you have indicated, the bill fell apart. It is interesting to note that it fell apart because the bill had been developed quietly and methodically and with research, and just as it came out of committee, the shootings in Columbine, Colorado, occurred, and it was loaded up with a lot of sound bites, slogans and counterproductive, politically explosive issues that resulted in the bill falling apart. I would hope that having learned our lesson that we don't let this bill suffer the same fate.
Mr. Chairman, as I indicated, the Speaker of the House appointed a bipartisan committee that issued a report after weeks of hearings on what we can do about juvenile crime, and I would like a copy of this report issued in the 106th Congress as part of the record in this hearing.
Mr. SMITH. Without objection, we will make that a part of the record.
[The report follows:]
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Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC71181V.eps
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Mr. SCOTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I look forward to the testimony of the witnesses.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you, Mr. Scott. I also want to welcome two other Members of the Subcommittee who have arrived, Mr. Green of Wisconsin and Mr. Barr of Georgia, and ask either of them if they have an opening statement?
If not, we will proceed.
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Mr. SMITH. Once again, we welcome the witnesses. Let me introduce them in the order in which they will testify: the Honorable Michael J. Anderegg, Presiding Judge, Family Division, Marquette County Circuit Court, Marquette, Michigan; the Honorable James W. Payne, Judge, Juvenile Division, Marion Superior Court, Indianapolis, Indiana; Mr. Steve Robinson, Executive Director, Texas Youth Commission, Austin, Texas; Mr. Vincent N. Schiraldi, Founder and Executive Director, Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, Washington, D.C.
Once again, we appreciate you all being here and giving us the benefits of your testimony, and Judge Anderegg, we will begin with you, except that I see Mr. Scott has a comment.
Mr. SCOTT. Mr. Chairman, Julia Carson had indicated that she wanted to be here to introduce Judge Payne. Her schedule did not allow it, but just wanted me to make sure he was properly welcomed by his home-town Congresswoman.
Mr. SMITH. Okay. We will consider that welcome to be made. Judge Anderegg, if you will begin.
STATEMENT OF HON. MICHAEL J. ANDEREGG, PRESIDING JUDGE, FAMILY DIVISION, MARQUETTE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, MARQUETTE, MICHIGAN
Judge ANDEREGG. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Scott, Members of the Subcommittee, I am pleased to be here to address you and I am especially pleased that this Subcommittee has taken up the subject of juvenile justice as early in the session as it has.
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I am here representing the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. I am the chair of the Federal Legislation Committee for that organization. I have been a juvenile judge for more than 24 years, and Mr. Green knows where I live, I think.
The organization receives no dollars from the Juvenile Accountability Incentive Block Grant program, but it does, as you can see from the testimony I have submitted, receive some Federal money through the Federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and I will address that later.
I am here to give you the perspective of rural courts and rural judges about the Accountability Incentive Block Grant program. The principal drawbacks as we see it in the rural areas are that the formula for distribution of the Federal funds depends on law enforcement effort and Part I violent crime. That formula tends to send the money to urban areas rather than rural areas.
In my testimony, I reference the fact that out of $14 million that came to the State of Michigan in the first 2 years of the program, $20,000 came for the entire Upper Peninsula, where I live, which is 316,000 people and more than 16,000 square miles. So that is one of the problems.
The emphasis that Congress put on dividing up which content areas the money should go to was an effort, I think, by Congress to determine where these funds should go. It put some limitations on how we could spend it and initially when I was offered money, I refused it for that reason. It created an administrative burden that a small court could not deal with.
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We would wish that the ceilings for individual jurisdictions were higher and that the money would last longer. Three years instead of 2 years would be preferable.
In general, when the Federal Government gives money to states, there is a four-part conversation that goes on. First is Congress says here is some money and here is what we would like you to do with it. Congress later says through Federal agencies what did you do with our money? The states say here is what we did, and then we both theoretically say how can we do better with your money, with our money? And actually there is a fifth part of the conversation that usually goes on then which is give us more money, and we are at stages three, four and five, I think, of that conversation.
And we are here to talk about possible improvements in the program. We are here to urge you to maintain or improve the Federal effort in those areas, and it is evident from the bill that you intend to do that. I would emphasize that this Accountability Block Grant program is only part of the Federal effort.
One of the things that the National Council is very interested in having you do is reauthorize the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act and continue the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in its present form.
Some of the dollars that come to the National Council through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention help produce information about juvenile offenders.
These are two of the products that are produced with the help of the National Council's National Center for Juvenile Justicethat is our research arm: The 1999 National Report on Juvenile Offenders and Victims, and it is available in CD-ROM form also, so I would bet you that all of you have in your office this document that is produced by the National Center for Juvenile Justice and that that is what you reference when you need information about juvenile crime.
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That is very important to us in rural jurisdictions. We don't have the capability to do research and to generate statistics ourselves. The information that comes from the office is customized so that it is very useful to us.
And the Office of Juvenile Justice produces a number of other documents that are pertinent to juvenile justice efforts: OJJDP Research, Predictors of Youth Violence, Prevention of Serious and Violent Juvenile Offenders, Ten Steps for Implementing a Program of Controlled Substance Testing through the Accountability Block Grants, Youth Gang Programs, Balanced Approach to Probation, Investing in Girls, Juvenile Transfers to Adult Criminal Court, and finally Effective Intervention in Domestic Violence and Child Maltreatment Cases. The funding for this actually came through the Office of Violence Against Women and not the Office of Juvenile Justice.
But we are very interested in the totality of the Federal effort and I will be very pleased to answer questions about this. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you, Judge Anderegg.
[The prepared statement of Judge Anderegg follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE MICHAEL J. ANDEREGG, PRESIDING JUDGE, FAMILY DIVISION, MARQUETTE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, MARQUETTE, MICHIGAN
Judge Anderegg represents the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) and its research arm, the National Center for Juvenile Justice (NCJJ).
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NCJFCJ supports the increased authorized expenditure for block grants contained in the Consequences for Juvenile Offenders Act of 2001, and the continuation of that program within OJJDP as an effective means of assisting state courts to deal with juvenile crime.
NCJFCJ also supports the reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 and the continuation of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. If the Act is reauthorized, NCJFCJ believes that the research and statistical functions currently performed by OJJDP should continue in their present form and not be transferred to other federal agencies.
The provision of federal juvenile justice assistance is especially important to rural courts. Such courts are likely to have fewer administrative and treatment resources available, and benefit greatly from technical assistance and information about model programs provided by federal participation.
Although juvenile arrests for serious crimes against persons and property are at a 20-year low, juvenile court caseloads continue to be high. Continuation of the federal effort to assist state courts in dealing with juvenile offenders will ultimately reduce adult crime, reduce the costs of crime, and increase public safety.
Chairman Smith, Mr. Scott, members of the subcommittee. I am pleased to appear today at your request. I am here representing the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. I intend to provide information to you about how federal initiatives to reduce juvenile crime impact rural courts.
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My name is Michael Anderegg. I am Presiding Judge of the Family Division of the Circuit Court in Marquette County, Michigan. My jurisdiction is a county of approximately 63,000 people spread over 1800 square miles. We are located about 400 miles north of Chicago on the south shore of Lake Superior. I have been a juvenile court judge for more than 24 years. Before taking the bench, I prosecuted and defended juvenile cases.
I am the Chair of the Federal Legislation committee for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. NCJFCJ is a 64-year-old non-profit organization comprised of state judges and court employees who deal with juveniles and families. We have approximately 1600 judge members. Our members are located in forty-nine of the fifty states and in the District of Columbia. The national Council is headquartered in Reno, Nevada. The research arm of the National Council is the National Center for Juvenile Justice (NCJJ), located in Pittsburgh, PA. NCJJ collects and analyzes national data about juvenile crime and juvenile court operations. NCJJ also disseminates data about juvenile crime in formats that are customized to meet the needs of juvenile court practitioners and other data users, and provides technical assistance about juvenile court issues throughout the United States. Technical assistance is provided by telephone, mail or volunteer on-site or cross-site consultants.
NCJFCJ has had a long and fruitful partnership with the federal government. The Council's major function is to provide training, education, and technical assistance to judges, court professionals, and individuals who provide services or treatment to juveniles under court jurisdiction. Federal grants to NCJFCJ have helped produce such documents as the annual reports on juvenile offenders and victims; the Desktop Guide to Good Probation Practice, distributed to every juvenile probation officer in the United States; Resource Guidelines for Improving Court Practice in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases; and guidelines for effective intervention in domestic violence and child maltreatment cases, to cite just a few recent examples.
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The National Council believes that the federal recognition of the uniqueness of juvenile courts and juvenile offenders should continue. The bill under consideration here today, the Consequences for Juvenile Offenders Act of 2001, represents an important part of the federal effort, in that it would authorize the continuation of highly successful and popular block grants to states and local jurisdictions, with the increased federal funds targeted toward assuring that each time a juvenile comes to court, he or she receives an additional consequence for the additional offense. The bill identifies thirteen categories in which federal funds may be used. These grant categories include all the most critical problems facing juvenile courts today. The bill provides that a state may keep up to 25% of the block grant, with the balance of funds allocated to local jurisdictions. Some states have elected to pass the entire block grant amounts to local units of government. It requires a minimal local match, and specifically allows contracts with private non-profit agencies or organizations. All these features are desirable; and the additional federal funds earmarked for these purposes are desperately needed.
However, the National Council urges this subcommittee, as it considers this and other legislation concerning juvenile justice issues, to:
1. Keep in mind that the juvenile justice system is primarily a state system. Very few juveniles are prosecuted in federal courts, and the federal corrections system has very limited capability for dealing with juvenile offenders.
2. Understand that the juvenile justice system is unique and requires specialized help. Juveniles are not miniature adults. They are strongly influenced by their families and their peers, and more often than not, they can be rehabilitated or diverted from a life of crime. Juvenile courts can be an important force in effecting such changes. For those of you who may not be familiar with it, I highly recommend that you obtain a copy of the CD ROM available from the National Council documenting success stories of individuals who were referred to juvenile court as teenagers. One of the success stories is that of former Senator Alan Simpson. This CD ROM was produced with assistance from the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
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3. Maintain a comprehensive and integrated approach to the federal juvenile justice effort. Block grants are one important way in which the federal system can help state and local governments deal with delinquency and with child abuse and neglect, which is strongly correlated with future delinquency. Training judges and court staffs in best practices identified by applied research is another important role. Technical assistance, such as management consulting, or transfer of knowledge about a particular issue or technique from one organization to individual to another, is also an important component of the federal effort. Perhaps most importantly, the National Council believes the federal effort should continue to fund to public and private agencies that operate programs which have shown by research to prevent future delinquency.
THE ORIGINAL FEDERAL ROLE IN JUVENILE JUSTICE
Federal involvement in juvenile justice has changed over the years. In 1974, when Congress first passed the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA), the primary focus of federal funding was to protect juvenile offenders while they were being processed in state court systems. The original version of the JJDPA mandated that juveniles be removed from adult jails and separated from adult offenders if they were being held in facilities where adults were lodged. JJDPA also required the deinstitutionalization of status offenders; that is, juveniles who were charged with offense such as truancy, running away from home, incorrigibility, and similar offenses, were not to be lodged or treated in secure facilities. Over the years since 1974, an additional core requirement, the reduction of disproportionate confinement of minority offenders, was added.
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Today's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention bears little resemblance to the office of twenty-seven years ago. The focus has shifted, through the efforts of Congress, successive administrations, and dedicated professionals both inside and outside the federal government. Today's OJJDP is an agency within the Justice Department that the federal government can truly be proud of. With a relatively modest FY 2001 budget of $594.7 million, the agency is helping to address virtually every problem that is important to state juvenile court systems todayviolent offenders, gangs, gun violence, drugs, teen courts, abuse and neglect, involvement of victims in the court process, research-based prevention programs, gender-specific treatment programs, boot camps, transfer of juveniles to adult court, innovative approaches to juvenile probation, and mental health needs of juvenile offenders, in addition to the original focus on the core requirements. OJJDP programs are cost effective and thoroughly evaluated. Statistics maintained through OJJDP-funded programs allow analysis both over time and jurisdiction-to-jurisdiction. Information developed by the Office is being disseminated using technologically advanced means, such as websites and CD ROMs. Research data is collected during program operations and is used to modify and improve future programming. An example of the benefits of applied research is the model dependency court in Cincinnati, Ohio. Practices identified as effective in that court have been disseminated to other model dependency court sites. These practices have also been incorporated into the Resource Guidelines for Improving Court Practices, produced by the National Council and endorsed by the Conference of Chief Justices and the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As useful and as appropriate as OJJDP and federal block grant programs have been, there is room for improvement. In addition to the block grant program set forth in the Consequences for Juvenile Offenders Act of 2001, NCJFCJ believes that the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act must be reauthorized. The most recent reauthorization expired in 1996. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention has been funded by continued appropriations, but reauthorization would give needed certainty and stability to the office and its grantees.
Recent proposals in the previous administration would have reorganized the Justice Department, eliminating presidential appointment status for the head of OJJDP, and transferring the Office's research function to the National Institute of Justice and the statistical function to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. The National Council opposes these proposals. We are concerned that transferring large portions of OJJDP's work to other agencies that have much more general responsibilities cannot help but diminish the focus on juvenile justice issues and will require state juvenile justice professionals to deal with federal staff who are of necessity less knowledgeable about the uniqueness of juveniles and juvenile courts.
A final area of the federal juvenile justice effort that merits consideration for improvement is the availability of up-to-the-minute information. In preparing this testimony, I used nationwide arrest data from 1999 because these are the most current numbers available. These 1999 numbers are still relevant because some juvenile offenders, especially serious or repeat offenders, tend to remain under court jurisdiction for more than one year. However, improvements in our ability to communicate electronically should result in faster access to accurate nationwide data on juvenile arrests. The National Council urges this subcommittee to encourage, to the extent it can, improvements in the data-gathering system that is used by the federal and state systems. Because these numbers are used to determine priorities for juvenile justice, they should be as up-to-date as possible.
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CONCERNS FOR RURAL COURTS
To assist rural courts, which generally do not have extensive administrative capabilities, block grant programs such as the JAIBG program, need to have simple application forms, be stable over time to allow for planning and improvement, have an achievable local match formula, and to strike an appropriate balance between record keeping requirements that are sufficient to ensure accountability and replicability, but are not so burdensome that record keeping cuts into service delivery.
The formula for distribution of JAIBG grants in the current bill is based partly on expenditures for law enforcement and partly on Part I violent crimes as defined by the FBI. This formula tends to heavily favor urban areas over rural areas. By way of example, during the first two years of JAIBG appropriations, the state of Michigan was allocated approximately $7 million per year, or a total of about $14 million. Of that amount, by formula, the entire Upper Peninsula (318,000 people and 16,325 square miles) was scheduled to receive $10,000 per year, or a total of $20,000. These funds would have been allocated to my county. We refused them because of the administrative requirements, but eventually received a total of $49,065 out of unallocated funds. We have used our JAIBG grant to fund a part-time drug enforcement probation officer who can specialize in dealing with juveniles who have alcohol and other substance abuse problems. We apply graduated sanctions to juveniles on his caseload, although most sanctions involve participation in substance abuse education or treatment. We do not expect that increasingly severe punishment alone will succeed in overcoming a severe substance abuse problem.
There should be close coordination between block grant and formula grant programs. This has been complicated in Michigan by the fact that we are one of only two states in which the governor did not use the State Advisory Group, which oversees formula grants, to distribute JAIBG monies. Instead, Governor Engler appointed a separate JAIBG committee. The same juvenile justice specialists serve both committees, but coordination is still more difficult than if one committee had responsibility for formula grants and JAIBG grants. Coordination can also be enhanced by assuring that administration of the grants set forth in the Consequences for Juvenile Offenders Act of 2001 be administered within OJJDP. The Office was given oversight of the existing JAIBG grants by the Attorney General, and has almost four years of demonstrated success in administering the program.
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The current bill contains a 3% set-aside for research, evaluation, and administration of the grants. We believe research and evaluation of programs are important functions and should not have to compete with grant administration for a limited pool of funds.
The bill also eliminates funding for training and technical assistance, which are part of the existing JAIBG program. Those functions are most important to rural courts, which are least likely to be able to afford paying for them from other sources.
The national Council believes that commitment of federal funding for juvenile justice assistance should continue at its current level or increase, not decrease. The most recent arrest data for juveniles (compiled by NCJFCJ's National Center for Juvenile Justice with financial support from OJJDP) shows that juvenile arrests for violent crime in 1999 declined for the fifth straight year, and are comparable to the number of arrests for violent crime in 1980, and the that juvenile arrests for property crime changed relatively little from 1980 to 1997, but have dropped 23% between 1997 and 1999. About 75% of juveniles arrested were referred to court, with 69% being referred to juvenile court and 6% being referred directly to adult criminal court. The juvenile arrest rate for drug abuse violations was as high in 1999 as it was in 1980, although it declined slightly from 1997 to 1999. (See Appendix A)
In spite of the decreasing number of juvenile arrests for serious crimes, juvenile court caseloads remain high. This does not mean the federal government should use the reductions in arrest rates as a justification to economize; rather it means that juvenile courts can now concentrate on younger and less serious offenders who are more likely to be rehabilitated. The Consequences for Juvenile Offenders Act of 2001 recognizes this reality by authorizing a substantially increased amount for JAIBG grants in future years.
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Local juvenile courts are not likely to be able to fund enhanced court operations or programs from other sources. Rather, courts are under pressure from their funding units to hold the line on staffing and placement costs. Marquette County spent nearly $1 million, or nearly 6% of its total budget, on child placements in the year 2000. Because of concerns about the health and safety of juveniles in residential services, placement costs for juveniles can exceed $200 per day. That figure translates to $73,000 for one juvenile placed in a residential facility for one year. Distance to a residential treatment center is also a problem in most rural areas. This makes it difficult for a delinquent youth's family to maintain contact or participate in treatment.
It is difficult to find foster families willing to take in delinquent teenagers, and serious offenders who are placed in their own homes, even with intensive supervision, raise legitimate concerns for community safety. These factors make it critical that the federal system maintains or enhances its commitment to the established partnership with local courts to deal with juvenile crime.
The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges thanks the subcommittee for this opportunity to share its views about the federal role in juvenile justice. As you are aware, the needs of rural jurisdictions are different from those of urban areas. Designing programs that respect the appropriate role of state courts in dealing with juvenile offenders while responding to the needs of large and small jurisdictions will be a challenging task. We at the National Council are anxious to continue our strong partnership with the federal government, public and private agencies, and foundations to meet the challenge of juvenile crime in innovative, costconscious and effective ways.
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Mr. SMITH. Judge Payne.
STATEMENT OF HON. JAMES W. PAYNE, JUDGE, JUVENILE DIVISION, MARION SUPERIOR COURT, INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA; STEVE ROBINSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, TEXAS YOUTH COMMISSION, AUSTIN, TEXAS
Judge PAYNE. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Scott, Members of the Committee, I also want to thank you for the opportunity to appear here today. My position is to represent those who serve in the urban courts in our Country, and I have the great privilege of knowing and working with many of those. I seem to be traveling as we try to coordinate our efforts in a variety of ways, particularly the abuse and neglect area.
But specifically, as to the delinquency, the juvenile courts are in the business of accountability and may be the ultimate accountability arm for the issue of juveniles in juvenile crime when there is an issue and problem that has confronted the community or a particular family and certainly ultimately the individual.
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The interesting thing is that there continues to be, I think, the hope, much less the belief, that all problems can be solved, and that if they can be, that ultimate accountability in the juvenile court is the place where problems can be solved.
What we are faced with particularly in the urban areas is that we have increasing numbers and we have had increasing numbers over a period of time now, and that those numbers have brought with them difficult and more serious kinds of problems that have confronted the families and the children in their home environment, in their neighborhood, in their schools, and wherever they happen to be.
It also means that the complexity of those problems present additional challenges that we are not prepared in the normal sense to address. Certainly, the recent shootings around the Country just in the last few days have given an indication of that, and while they are tragic, frankly they are not surprising to many of us in urban courts or perhaps juvenile courts around the Country because we have seen the kind of problems coming into our courts that have lead to the problems that we are faced with.
In our court specifically, we have found over the last number of years that children continue to get younger, more violent. We have girls coming into our courts in increasing numbers. Drugs have continued to increase the complexity of the problems that our juveniles face; middle class children coming in for a variety of more serious problems.
And recently two major problems that we seem to be having: first of all, young kids, nine, ten, 11 and 12, who come in repeatedly. That is their first contact with the juvenile court has not been enough to resolve the conflicts or the issues that they are faced with.
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And, secondly, more inter family problems, not just sibling rivalry and sibling fights, but serious conflict within families that even spill over to violence toward parents. When you add those together, it creates a fairly bleak picture about what is coming into our courts based upon what is happening in the community, and as the courts, the prosecutors, public defenders, the service delivery system tried to address these, frankly what has happened is we have become overwhelmed.
We have become overwhelmed by the numbers and the complexity, and therefore what we have gotten engaged in in the urban setting is more process oriented, how do we move this case from the point of filing to the point of conclusion, rather than looking more directly at what are the causes of those problems, how do we address those early through graduated sanctions that may be developed through a proper assessment tool, and then putting the right child, right circumstances into the right treatment program.
The inability to fashion those treatment programs based upon some technique rather than a process is what is creating our major problem in my court system. What the juvenile courts, and particularly urban, and that is not to say that Judge Anderegg and I disagree on many things, but what we need is more leadership at the urban level and the ability to step back, look at what is happening, find out what the trends are, and then address those trends in some systemic manner so that we can use graduated sanctions when we develop the proper assessment tool.
That means that we have a different style, different culture. Different jurisdictions will have different problems. And when we are confronted with those two elements and changes that we can't keep up with because of the numbers and the complexity of those problems, based upon the numbers, the urban courts particularly have problems.
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So I would suggest that there are a number of things that through JAIBG, and we have used our JAIBG grant in Indianapolis for a juvenile drug treatment court, for mentoring programs and other programs, and they seem to be effective, but examples are an opportunity to look at system assessment and find out how we can assess every system, much as Congress allowed the courts to do in the abuse and neglect, to provide an assessment.
Secondly, to look at information sharing and how we can do that, and finally the development of best practices. So whether it is a rural, urban, correctional, whatever environment, we can use that.
Just a quick example as I conclude, the recent shootings that we have had over the last number of years have primarily been in rural settings, not urban, and that has, I heard, and it has been suggested that that had occurred because in the urban settings, the culture, the diversity, and other context within that urban environment allow more acceptance of different lifestyles and behaviors, but in the rural setting, that may not be the case.
So in the urban setting, we tend to have more individual shootings, one on one, and we have many of them, but in the rural settings, and now in the suburban settings. And so what we see is one generation taking to excess what this generation tolerates. JAIBG allows us to address that and I encourage your support of a JAIBG program. Thank you very much.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you, Judge Payne.
[The prepared statement of Judge Payne follows:]
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PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE JAMES W. PAYNE, JUDGE, MARION SUPERIOR COURT, JUVENILE DIVISION, MARION SUPERIOR COURT, INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA
Mr. Chairman, and members of the Committee, it is my privilege to appear before you today as a member of the Judiciary serving in the Juvenile and Family Courts of our Country. I am a member of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the oldest and largest organization of those serving on the bench to serve the best interests of the children and families in our communities as well as other Judicial and community organizations and am concerned about the care and treatment of those juvenile who appear before the Juvenile Court.
It has been my honor to serve as the elected, presiding Judge of the Marion Superior Court for sixteen years. There are five thousand to six thousand delinquent cases filed in our Court every year and with two to three hundred hearings every day. The cases range from murder to drugs, guns, theft, fighting to disorderly conduct. The Court also addresses the issues status offense cases of runaway, truancy and underage drinking for an additional one thousand cases. Through the extraordinary efforts of the probation staff, detention staff, Judicial hearing officers and others, the cases are filed, heard and disposed of in an efficient and timely process. The goal of the Court is to provide care, rehabilitation and treatment on an individual basis considering family, school and other factors. Over the past sixteen years, our Court has heard over eighty thousand delinquent case and thirteen thousand status offense cases.
I have had the opportunity over those years to visit many Juvenile Courts around the countryfrom Chicago to Miami to Baltimore to Salt Lake City to San Jose to Phoenix to Cincinnati and others. I have learned that the Juvenile Courts of our communities perform difficult tasks in frustrating situations with too few resources and with little appreciation for the responsibility and challenges presented. Often these tasks are done with other people having little or no understanding of the challenges and limitations placed on the Court to get the job done. Part of that is because there is confidentiality about the work that we do and therefore the lack of understanding in some ways. The main problem, however, seems to be the misperception of the current status of juvenile and juvenile delinquent behavior.
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There is a common belief that juvenile crime is out of control and that the rate of increase is far beyond the current status of other crimes committed within our society and community, specifically adult crime. The most recent report presented by the Department of Justice at its National Conference of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention indicated that juvenile arrest rates for violent crime overall declined 36 percent from 1994 to 1999 and at its lowest rate since 1988. The nation is in its fifth consecutive year of declining juvenile crime. This is clearly not the perception of the communities of our states and as presented in the media. Certainly the recent school shooting in a suburb of San Diego and the recent ones in Columbine, Springfield, Oregon and Paducah add to the perception of the violent nature of all young peoplebut similar shootings by adults in California, Pennsylvania and other states do not create the same outrage, reaction and perception. In fact, adult crime is also down dramatically over this same period of time.
We are then in a quandary over this interpretation and how to respond to it, because, too often, the perception and the belief begins to control the response and the programs and funding to address the issue presented. This is even more problematic when we see that many adults are more afraid of young people than any other segment of the population. To observe this phenomenon, go to a local mall on the weekend or a popular public gathering place where there are adults, juvenile and families gathering on the weekend. For the most part, adults will cross the street, duck into a store or turn around from a group of young people coming toward them. We have a fear of young people fueled by a perception of the facts of juvenile crime and violent behavior.
In my jurisdiction, there have been steps taken in the past year to utilize the resources available to address specific identified problems. The Juvenile Accountability Block Grant (JAIBG) has provided the opportunity for our community group to identify specific problems and address them with the local level with funds that would not otherwise have been available. Our community group identified drug and alcohol use as a significant problem and we have established a juvenile drug treatment court which we hold on weekday evenings and on Saturday when families are available and the court hearings do not interfere with school. The juveniles involved will attend court hearings every week or every other week and have intensive services, regular drug screens and family involvement to ensure sustainability of the treatment model. It appears to be extremely successful in its early stages and would not have possible without the opportunity to evaluate the need and implement and jurisdictionally specific treatment program. Other jurisdictions in Indiana have used the opportunity and resources in substantially different ways (purchasing vehicles home checks by probation, radios and technology for court information sharing) and it is this opportunity that can only be provided by the leadership at the Federal level.
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If the issue is one of perception, how did it occur, who is responsible, and what can be done? Someone said, ''what one generation tolerates, the next will take to excess''. What we allow or tolerate to day will be taken one step further by the next generation. We have certainly seen examples of this statement: A. From small, ''Saturday night special'' guns to Tec 9, 20 shot, 9 millimeter hand guns; B. from alcohol to marijuana to cocaine to crack cocaine to cranks; C. from pong to Mario Brothers to the violent video games children play; and from violent movies to the regular graphic portrayal of violence in almost every movie madeand the more graphic and repetitive the better. And juveniles are not responsible for the manufacture, production, transportation and creation of these examplesadults are.
The research and publication ofOn Killing by Lt. Col. David Grossman, an expert in the psychology of killing, demonstrates the impact that the repetition of killing has on the mind and mindset of a juvenile. While it is true that not every juvenile who plays violent video games will kill, clearly we are setting the stage for the next generation. The research by several federal agencies has demonstrated the incredible impact that repetitive exposure on a random, continuous basis has on juvenilesand the younger the more impact.
The impact on juveniles of the break down of the traditional family structure and support with no significant, dependable and stable replacement is equally damaging to juveniles and indicative of the status of life in our communities. Research indicates that juveniles need three factors to become successful in later years: 1an empathetic, caring adult; 2a strong leader in a safe school environment; and, 3a consistent set of positive values through different stages of development in life. While there are no guarantees, clearly without these foundations, young people have difficulty achieving and thriving.
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The responsibility rests with all of us for the state of affairs of juveniles in our society. The reports available on the state of children in our communities should be available to every executive of a city, town or state, every legislator at the local, state and national level and every leader of business. We should not allow the current state of affairs of our young people to continue and we cannot allow the perception to continue if it is in fact not true. We seem to be at a stage in our history where we are more willing to pay later than fix now. We also cannot allow this generation to tolerate that which is not acceptable by reasonable standard set in our community.
The indicators are available in almost every jurisdiction to determine the current status of affairs of young people. The Juvenile Courts are a place to find hose indicators for a variety of reasons. The Courts of our country were the place of last resortwhere people went when all other avenues had been utilized. Now, the Courts are the place of first resortrather than resolve conflict elsewhere, a lawsuit or Court filing is the first effort at resolution.
Our Court statistics demonstrate the changes in our filings over the past years have shifted significantly. The number of arrests, filings, hearings and the cases heard reflect the local changes that have occurred in every jurisdiction, regardless of size. While the specifics of each jurisdiction may vary, the changes and the necessity for response will be similar.
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There have been several major increases recently in our Indianapolis court, which bear some mention in terms of juvenile delinquency and the current status of juvenile crime:
1) Children are younger
Ten years ago the average age for first arrest and come to our court was fifteen and a half. Now it is thirteen and a half. Research has indicated that the younger a child comes in for an offense, the more likely they are to repeat.
2) Children are becoming more violent
While juvenile crime is generally down, as well as overall crime, the violence that we see has not just been anecdotal, such as the recent school shooting in San Diego, but children are more violent. While juvenile crime is down over the last five years, the violent crime is still at unacceptable levels.
3) Drugs have come into our community
Our large urban area, being in the Midwest, received the drug problem (as we did the gang problem) late. We have participated in the Drug Use Forecasting (DUF) for over twenty years. Of the twelve cities participating in the testing, Indianapolis always tested low (20% positive) until about five years ago and we now test around fifty or sixty percent testing positive for drugs. Our young people are involved in the sale of drugs, as well as the use.
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4) Girls getting arrested
To the extent that some think that the juvenile courts and juvenile delinquency is a boy problem, girls are now getting arrested in more frequent numbers, not only creating program problems, but also how we provide equal treatment with boys. Ask anyone in a local school about girls becoming more violent.
5) Middle class kids getting arrested
Middle class boys and girls are now almost as likely to get arrested as anyone else. We have middle class gangs, drug problem, violence and significant crimes, such as theft in the thousands of dollars.
There are two other categories that are equally compelling and indicative of the current status of juvenile delinquency.
a) Young children getting arrested
We now have young people (10, 11 or 12 year olds) who are getting arrested three and four or more times. In the not too recent past, young children would get arrested and not come back because parents would take control and the children would indicate that they were not going to get in trouble again. That is not the case any longer.
b) Violence within the home
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We have always had sibling rivalry and sibling fights. What we are seeing now is more violent activity within the home environmentbetween siblings or toward a parent. This also creates problems, initially not so much of a community or public safety issue, but personal safety, within the home environment which can then become a pattern of behavior into the school or community.
When these are added togetheryounger, more violent, girls, drugs, middle class kids, repeat young children and family violencethe future of juvenile delinquency becomes clearer and not acceptable. Urban courts, particularly, may be impacted more than suburban or rural communities. Certainly, urban settings are more likely to have these problems early. They generally then filter to the suburban and urban settings, but initially urban communities must find a way to address these problems.
One of the main issues that requires attention is identification and response to the changing developments. Too often, by the time problems are identified and solutions attempted, changes in the dynamics have already occurred. Auto theft is a perfect example of the changes that have occurred in the years that I have observed how we identify and address those problems. Auto theft typically occurs by the breaking of a window, cracking of the steering column, and driving away. Typically the window is broken by the blunt end of a screw driver, the door is unlocked, the metal end of the screw driver is inserted into the ignition, the steering column is ''cracked'' and the vehicle can then be driven away. Certainly, there are times when the keys are in the car, but the above is the most likely scenario for a car to be stolen by a young person. The police would respond to this initially by recognizing that when a window is broken, specifically a back window, the car is probably stolen. When that became standard the next thing that identified a stolen car was that the bright lights would be on the vehicle often when the steering column was cracked. Police then were pulling cars over when the operator failed to dim the bright lights. When that happened, the practice was to break out the headlights. When police began to recognize that, they then indicated that if the headlights were broken out, it was probably a stolen car. In other words, when law enforcement identifies a specific indication of a crime, often that identifier was changed by the delinquent/criminal element before notification and implementation of strategies to address those could be found.
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The same is true with many of the issues that urban communities address. Because the age of communication and information exchange is so available and because young people are more mobile than before, the delinquent acts and crimes that occur, happen in areas, in common locations and at times that make it difficult to identify a pattern until a period of time has elapsed. When that occurs, often the issues are more problematic and difficult to address because of the length of time they are engrained in the lifestyle and culture of an individual, neighborhood or a group of individuals.
All of this is to say that training and technical assistance is particularly critical to an urban setting, but specifically that it be done in a timely manner. The delay in providing research and information gathering can create specific problems for the urban communities in addressing these particular problems early on before they become engrained in the community.
While technology is important, it is the training and technical assistance, the backbone of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, which is particularly necessary for urban communities to respond immediately and aggressively to issues that confront us. The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges has demonstrated over the years its ability to produce products that present issues important to our courts, communities and nation and for which appropriate responses can make a difference. Specifically:
a) The Juvenile Court and Serious Offenders38 RecommendationsSummer 1984
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC b) Deprived ChildrenA Judicial Response73 Recommndations1986
c) DrugsThe American Family in Crisis: A Judicial Response39 Recommendations1988
d) Judicial Authority and Responsibility: 18 Recommendations on Issues in Delinquency and Abuse/Neglect Dispositions, 1989
e) Faith, Law and Morality: Exploring the Essence of Justice in SocietySummer 1996
The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges has demonstrated its ability
to produce products that can and have made tremendous impact on the way systems respond to issues and crises are resolved. Specifically, the Council's Resource Guidelines Improving Court Practice in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases, August 1995, has significantly changed the way court practice and therefore system practice has improved. In all probability it was the road map for the landmark change by Congress through the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, which has forced the systems to provide permanency for children in the abuse and neglect arena.
The National Council has followed that with the Adoption and Permanency GuidelinesImproving Court Practice in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases, July 2000. This has taken current problems in the practice of abuse and neglect cases and provided best practice models to be implemented around the country and has begun to redirect the way funding is provided to address those issues.
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The next effort and one with tremendous potential to impact the delinquency responsibility of the Juvenile Courts in our communities is the proposal before OJJDP for a resource guidelines book for delinquency. This effort has the same potential to significantly change the way Juvenile Courts and therefore prosecutors, attorneys Guardians ad Litems and CASAs, detention centers, probation and corrections conduct their part of the delinquency process. Providing a guide for best practice for urban, suburban, rural and tribal Courts will make a significant impact on delinquency for years.
The National Council for years has provided leadership and direction in the area of delinquency and has done that primarily in partnership with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention by providing necessary training resources for change within systems. Unfortunately, the delinquency part of the juvenile court function has been one which has been ignored, primarily because the call has been to place more children in the adult system rather than recognizing the need for treatment and rehabilitation. Several states have led the way in more quickly moving children into the adult system, both by ''direct file'' (cases filed in adult system for certain serious offenses at a specific age) and by a transfer or waiver (the process of filing first in the juvenile Court and sending the offender and the case to the adult system). There has been insufficient research to indicate that this model is effective, only that it responds to a vice and advocates who suggest that public safety is improved and best served by removing young people from society, even for a short period of time. Research has indicated, however, that most young people who are placed in the adult system, through either direct file or waiver, spend very little time in the adult correction system (jail or prison) and in fact, in many instances, would have spent more time in the juvenile system in a correctional environment. Unfortunately, this is a recent and continuing trend that in all probability not only is misdirected, but also ineffective. The juvenile system still works in the vast majority of cases. While definition tends to drive the issue of success, recidivism in most of our Juvenile Courts is very low when compared to the number of referrals and the dispositions utilized. Given a reasonable definition of recidivism, our Marion County recidivism rate is approximately twenty-five percent. That means that almost seventy-five percent of the young people who come to our Court for a delinquent act, do not return. Clearly, the statistics reflect more on perception than reality. The perception is that juvenile crime is up dramatically, violent crime is at its worst possible state of affairs, and that the solution is to place young people in the adult correctional environment. The reality is much different than that and the question is, what is the best response.
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The best service delivery is provided at the local level where the efforts are best directed and the response is most visibly seen. The main problem at the local level is that everyone is so busy with the caseload and the complexity of the cases coming into the Courts, they cannot see the problems in a coordinated, systematic fashion and therefore the solutions are equally mystifying. When confronted with numerically overwhelming cases, complicated by the health, mental heath, emotional, physical, environmental and personal problems not just of the child but of the family by individual and history, there is little time left to engage in best practice and to develop a treatment program that considers the balanced approach that is the accepted practice in juvenile probation.
The Federal government and specifically OJJDP has a significant role to play in providing the necessary leadership and direction that local jurisdictions, for a variety of reasons, are unable to fill. That is not to say that role is without its limitations and must be addressed and understood before application occurs. Federalizing the juvenile system is clearly a dangerous step to take and should be avoided at all costs. Accept that the issues of juveniles and families are best addressed at the local level and then determine how to assist with that from the federal level. Therefore the federal Government can best provide resources in these areas:
1. System Assessment
One of the main problems with our system is that we at the local site, and at the state, do not have a fair and adequate assessment of how we are doing. This applies to the rural, suburban and urban communities. There is probably a great discrepancy between what urban and rural communities do in how they use graduated sanctions and resources to address particular problems. The federal government has provided leadership in this area and an example is the 1993 Family Preservation Act, commonly known as the Court Improvement Projects. This allowed each state, through a funding mechanism, to require each location to evaluate service delivery in cases of abuse and neglect. 49 out of 50 states filed reports and that process has provided the impetus for significant change in the abuse and neglect practice, not only in the courts, but in the system itself. The same model could be used in delinquency by providing an evaluation of system utilization
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2. Assessment tool
There are several models available to provide assessment tools to identify at risk children and families and provide services and resources. It would be helpful to have a common assessment tool that provides a series of assessment tools that identify family strengths and weaknesses, family history, child's history at school, mental health, etc. so appropriate graduated sanctions, which begin at the level where the services are needed. Having these assessment tools would provide each court, (rural, suburban and urban) an opportunity to evaluate how best to address the individual needs as they are presented to the court. These tools must not only be gender, cultural and race sensitive, but also must be adaptable by the specific jurisdiction, whether to size or specific jurisdictional issues.
3. Research on Changing Trends
As indicated above, the lives of our families, neighborhoods and communities change when trends, fads and problems arise. We need consistent reports on those changes so that all jurisdictions can appropriately respond as the information and practices become available. These should be frequent reports on trends so that issues can be addressed at the decision making level and implemented at the local level. A good example is that crack cocaine is not as prevalent as it once was and in many jurisdictions is being replaced by another substance, which is being abused. In some jurisdictions it is being replaced by heroine, others by LSD, others by some methamphetamines, etc. Tracking these trends and explaining the responses can be critical to how local jurisdictions are able to address problems as they arise.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC4. Research on Best Practices
This is a model best described through the Model Courts Project of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. By identifying jurisdictions that can utilize best practices (not necessarily the same practices) those can be modeled, not only in similar jurisdictions, but also those in proximity. Looking at best practices, providing resources for implementation of best practices and then demonstrate using those, as demonstration sites can be helpful to system change in providing appropriate sanctions in meaningful intervention early.
5. Providing Graduated Sanctions
Clearly the issue of graduated sanctions and in providing those sanctions appropriately are critical to effective intervention. Research and implementation through project sites and how to appropriately develop graduated sanctions is critical. Providing guidelines on best practices of graduated sanctions in the delinquency area can be helpful to courts to ensure consistency and uniformity within a jurisdiction and serve as an example for similar jurisdictions.
6. Use of Early Service Delivery
One of the keys of having an assessment tool listed above is to ensure early service delivery to avoid problems. As a society which continues to be willing to pay at the end of the system, (corrections, etc.) systems addressing delinquency need assistance in how to use early delivery systems to meet the graduated sanctions suggested and to appropriately provide services early on. This may mean providing more intensive services at a younger age. The current tendency is to ignore early warning signs with young children when assessment tools, appropriately implemented, may demonstrate the need. The second step, however, is to ensure early utilization of service delivery for the most effective treatment.
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In this age of information exchange, technology is critical. Clearly, there are jurisdictions within our states that do not have appropriate technology and whose failure to use that prevents system information sharing and will preclude best practice, use of assessment tool and application of graduated sanctions. While there is not one set of technology that will solve every problem, the specific needs of the juvenile courts in the delinquency process are critical and further assistance in establishing the parameters of technology and ultimately providing that technology are needed in many jurisdictions.
8. Information Sharing
Again, in this age of information technology, the inability, or in some cases, unwillingness, to share information is a tremendous impediment. Federal laws and regulations at this time, in many cases, prohibit the free exchange of information. There is a need to evaluate information sharing restrictions and to overcome those, not by developing means to overcome them, but in fact by amending, rescinding them or overriding them. It is not enough to find ways to work around current federal law restricting inability to share information with schools and mental health. Laws of confidentiality for schools (FERPA), substance abuse (42 U.S.C. 290dd242 C.F.R. 2:1 et. seq.) and mental health rules should be evaluated and rewritten so the concept of information sharing among system people is not only permitted, but required.
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There is clearly a role for the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention in the areas of juvenile delinquency which local jurisdictions are unable to fill. Passage of the ''Consequences for Juvenile Offenders Act of 2001'' is an important and critical step in providing information, assistance and leadership to the urban, suburban and rural Juvenile Courts. Without the office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention, coordination and systemic change in improvement will not occur. It is critical that the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention be reauthorized and that the reauthorization include efforts to engage model court, best practices, with appropriate assessment tools, system delivery processes and technology to meet those needs.
Mr. SMITH. Mr. Robinson of Texas.
STATEMENT OF STEVE ROBINSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, TEXAS YOUTH COMMISSION, AUSTIN, TEXAS
Mr. ROBINSON. Yes, Mr. Smith, thank you. It is nice to be here. I am Steve Robinson, and I am the Executive Director of the Texas Youth Commission, the juvenile correctional agency for the State of Texas.
The Youth Commission works to rehabilitate the most serious offenders we have in the juvenile system in Texas. More than 5,000 of these youth are in our custody and another 3,000 under our parole supervision.
The vast majority of youth who get in trouble with the law in Texas are still served by the probation departments at the local level. The counties provide probation supervision, programs, and residential placement for delinquent youth.
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The most serious offenders, or the most chronically troubled youth, are the ones that are sent to the state juvenile correction system where I am executive director.
In Texas, we adopted a system of graduated sanctions for juvenile delinquents 6 years ago, at a time when the crime rate was escalating. We have also lowered the age at which a juvenile could be certified for the most serious offenses from 15 to 14. We tripled the number of offenses that are eligible for a blended sentence.
The sentence of up to 40 years for the most serious crimes begins at the Texas Youth Commission. This sentence can be completed in the adult prison system or on parole, depending on the youth's progress and behavior at TYC.
I think it is important to note that in that system, more than half of the kids don't go on to the adult prison system. They parole out of our system and serve the rest of their sentence on parole.
At the same time, our legislature was looking for a balanced approach to dealing with young offenders. We wanted to get tough on crime, but we also wanted to be effective in helping delinquents change their behavior.
The problem was juvenile justice professionals had not articulated very well the juvenile justice system's mission or purpose. Developing graduated sanctions guidelines helped define the system for the public as well as our legislature and it helped everyone see where the money was being spent. It also gave us consistent language to use as we discussed juvenile crime.
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We call them progressive sanctions in Texas. They consist of seven levels of sanctions for kids who get in trouble, with each level more restrictive and demanding than the last one.
Level one is where the youth is handled informally by the local juvenile probation department. Level two would be deferred adjudication. Level three, straight probation. Level four, intensive supervision probation. Level five, institutionalization at a community level. Texas has funded the construction of more than 1,000 beds at the local level for probation departments and judges to use where they can confine and treat kids at the local level instead of committing to the state care.
Level six is commitment to the Texas Youth Commission for a minimum of 9 months and with possible jurisdiction until the youth turns 21. Level seven is that last chance. It allows for a blended sentence that begins at the Youth Commission with possible transfer to the adult prison system for the remainder of the sentence, all of that based on the youth's behavior in our system.
This system of progressive sanctions gave us a framework to analyze how we handle delinquents and to fund services for them. There was the realization that the biggest bang for the buck comes in helping first-time offenders. We said we would fund level one so that something happens no matter how minor when we first see a kid who is in trouble.
At the least, someone is going to call the child's parents. Before there was no certainty that that would happen. Before stories were rampant, as has already been mentioned here, of kids who had been referred to probation departments eight, ten, 14, 15 times before positive action was taken.
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Early intervention is crucial in working with children and research has proven the effectiveness of that. Children need to know there are consequences when they do wrong, and those consequences need to be reasonable in response to the offense. Progressive sanctions provide kids with expectations of what is ahead for them if they continue to break the law.
Prior to 1995, appropriated dollars for juvenile justice in Texas have grown from $114,500,000 in 1995 to $340,300,000 in 2000; and we have seen a significant decline in the number of youth referred to juvenile probation departments over the last 4 years.
The decline came along with increased resources devoted to the juvenile justice system. This system of graduated sanctions in Texas has contributed to more accountability for juvenile offenders, allows state leaders to see how the juvenile justice system should work, and to target funds at particular points in the system, and provides a road map of best practices for the courts to consider in dispositions.
We would appreciate your continued support of these graduated sanction efforts through block grants. By working together, we can hold youth accountable, but also give them a second chance. As the recently released Juvenile Justice Report by the National Academy of Sciences suggests, we need to rely less on incarceration and more on prevention on the front end to keep delinquent youth from becoming adult criminals.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you, Mr. Robinson.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Robinson follows:]
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PREPARED STATEMENT OF STEVE ROBINSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, TEXAS YOUTH COMMISSION, AUSTIN, TEXAS
I am Steve Robinsonexecutive director of the Texas Youth Commission, the juvenile corrections agency for the state of Texas.
The Texas Youth Commission works to rehabilitate the most serious delinquents in Texas.
More than 5,000 of these youth are in our custody, and another 3,000 are under our parole supervision.
I've worked in juvenile corrections since 1975.
I became executive director at the Youth Commission in 1993.
For seven years prior to that, I was Chief of Juvenile Probation Services for Austin-Travis County.
The vast majority of youth who get in trouble with the law in Texas are dealt with at the county level. The counties provide probation supervision, programs and residential placements for delinquent youth.
The most serious offenders, or the most chronically troubled youth, are the ones that are sent to the state juvenile corrections system where I am executive director.
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In Texas, we adopted a system of graduated sanctions for juvenile delinquents six years agoat a time when the crime rate was escalating.
The public demanded that we ''get tough on crime.''
We did get tough on crime in Texas.
We lowered the age at which a youth can be certified to stand trial as an adult. The age was lowered from 15 to 14 for the most serious crimes (capital, first degree and aggravated controlled substance abuse felonies).
We tripled the number of offenses that are eligible for a blended sentence. The sentenceof up to 40 years for the most serious crimesbegins at the Texas Youth Commission. The sentence can be completed in the adult prison system, or on parole, depending on the youth's progress and behavior at TYC.
At the same time, our legislature was looking for a balanced approach to dealing with young offenders. We wanted to get tough on crime, but we also wanted to be effective in helping delinquents change their behavior.
The problem was, juvenile justice professionals had not articulated very well the juvenile justice system's mission or purpose.
Developing Graduated Sanctions Guidelines helped define that system for the public as well as the legislature, and it helped everyone see where the money was being spent. It also gave us a language to use.
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We call them Progressive Sanctions in Texas.
These consist of 7 levels of sanctions for kids who get in troublewith each level more restrictive and demanding than the last one.
Level #1 is where the youth is handled informally by the local juvenile probation department.
Level #2 is deferred adjudication.
Level #3 is straight probation.
Level #4 is intensive supervision probation.
Level #5 is institutionalization at the community level. Texas has funded the construction of 1,000 beds for treatment of youth who have been adjudicated of a crime, but are confined and treated in their community.
Level #6 is commitment to the Texas Youth Commission, for at least 9 months, and with possible jurisdiction until the youth turns 21.
Level #7 is that ''last chance.'' It allows for a blended sentence that begins at the Youth Commissionwith possible transfer to the adult prison system for the remainder of the sentence.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This system of Progressive Sanctions gave us a framework to analyze how we handle delinquents, and to fund services for them.
There was the realization that the biggest bang for the buck comes in helping first-time offenders. We said we would fund Level One so that something happensno matter how minorwhen we first see a kid who's in trouble. At the least, someone will call the child's parents. Before, there was no certainty of that.
Before, stories were rampant of kids who were referred to juvenile probation 15 or 16 times before they were held accountable by the courts.
Early intervention is crucial in working with children. Research has proven the effectiveness.
The Communities In Schools program, for instance, coordinates community resources within a school setting to help youth ages 13-18.
98% of their at-risk participants stayed in school throughout the school year.
81% showed improvement in academics, attendance or behavior.
Children need to know that there are consequences when they do wrong, and those consequences need to be reasonablein response to the offense. Progressive Sanctions provide kids with expectations of what's ahead for them if they continue to break the law.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We made the guidelines non-mandatory on the counties. We would advocate that, because we recognize that circumstances can warrant individualized work with children. But when the communities deviate from the Levels, they are asked to acknowledge the deviation.
More money was made available at the state and community levelsfor local facilities, placement services and probation services. Appropriated dollars for juvenile justice in Texas have grown from $114,544,995 in 1995before Graduated Sanctionsto $340,318,440 in 2000.
There has been a significant decline in the number of youth referred to juvenile probation departments over the last four years.
This decline came along with increased resources devoted to the juvenile justice system.
The system of graduated sanctions in Texas:
has contributed to more accountability for juvenile offenders;
allows state leaders to see how the juvenile justice system should work, and to target funds at particular points in the system;
and provides a roadmap of best practices for the courts to consider in dispositions.
We would appreciate your continued support of these graduated sanctions efforts through block grants. By working together we can hold youth accountable but also give them a second chance. As the recently released juvenile justice report by the National Academy of Sciences suggests, we need to rely less on incarceration and more on prevention on the front end to keep delinquent youth from becoming adult criminals.
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Mr. SMITH. Mr. Schiraldi.
STATEMENT OF VINCENT SCHIRALDI, FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CENTER ON JUVENILE AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE, WASHINGTON, D.C.
Mr. SCHIRALDI. Mr. Smith, Mr. Scott, Members of the Committee, thank you for allowing me to testify today and thank you for putting together this bill. I know these hearings were scheduled before the tragic shooting in California earlier this week, and that this legislation is not a reaction to that. I think there is a disturbing correlation between the initiation of this legislation and school shootings that you might want to consider next time and maybe you should do it when school is out next time. [Laughter.]
Mr. SCHIRALDI. Still, and as many others have mentioned, I want to at least spend some time talking about this. In the face of this tragedy, I hope to give you some good news about youth behavior in America, and that good news is that youth crime and homicides, violence by youth, both in and out of schools, is at the lowest numbers it has been in decades, and the youth, generally speaking, are better behaved than certainly my generation and many generations earlier.
In December of 2000, for example, the Justice Department issued its annual youth crime data. That report showed that there was a promising 68 percent decline in youth homicides since their peak in 1993 and that homicides are now at their lowest level since 1966, homicides by youth.
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There were about 3,800 homicides by youth, or homicide arrests that is, in 1993, and 1,400 in 1999. Homicides by children 12 and underyou hear a lot in the press about kids killing at younger and younger ageshomicides by kids 12 and under, preteens, are at their lowest level since the FBI ever began recording that statistic in 1964.
Overall, adults committed ten times as many homicides as kids last year, and roughly when you look at content analysis of television news coverage, adult and juvenile homicides appear on television at about equal numbers, about 50-50, even though ten times as many homicides are committed by adults.
Other categories of youth crime have also declined sharply between 1995 and 1999. For example, violent arrests for adults dropped by 12 percent and violent arrests by juveniles dropped almost twice as much, by 23 percent.
The National Crime Victimization Survey is the annual survey of over 40,000 households. It has been taken since 1973. It is the other major analysis of crime and it is considered the most reliable one because it does not get affected by people's choices to report to police certain crimes. So sometimes reporting increases when crime doesn't.
The National Crime Victimization Survey has been asking the same questions since 1973. In their most recent survey, youth crime was at its lowest rate in the 25 year history of that survey. Crime in schools has much tracked what has been going on with crime in general by youth. For example, number of crimes in schools dropped by 29 percent between 1993 and 1997. Overall crime by youth dropped by 30 percent during that same time period.
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According to data released by the Justice Department in the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of serious violent crimes declined by 34 percent in schools and the number of kids carrying weapons to school by 30 percent. There were double digit drops in all categories of violent and non-violent crime.
Now, the National School Safety Center publishes data every year on school-associated violent deaths. They have been doing that every year since 1992. That first year there were 55 schoolassociated violent deaths. In 19971998 school yearthat was the year that the Jonesboro shooting occurredthere were 44, so it declined. In 19981999, the year that the Columbine shootings occurred, there were 30 school-associated violent deaths, 15 of which were accounted for, of course, by Columbine. That is a 45 percent decline since 1992. Last year, there were 16 school-associated violent deaths. That is a 71 percent decline since 1992.
Obviously, there is no acceptable level of killings in schools, and people obviously do have a right to have a heightened expectation of safety in schools. But in a school population of 52 million students, 16 school-associated violent deaths means that there is less than one in three million chance of being killed in a school. About 16 kids die from gunfire every 2 days in America outside of schools.
Data like these played a major part in the Bipartisan Working Group on Youth Violence, which called on us to use this kind of data in shaping public policy, and I think it is very important that we do so. It is really no fairer to stereotype America's kids as school shooters than it would be to taint all adults with the sins of Timothy McVeigh. Our kids are good kids. They are, by and large, better depicted as the kids in the other side of the yellow tape weeping over the death of their classmates, like all the rest of us did. And I think that is the beauty of this legislation as it builds on the hope for America's kids, not despair that those highly publicized atrocities would lead us to.
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I just want to make one or two comments about some of the comments made by others on the panel. I think the public opinion polling that I have looked at and at focus groups I have taken a look at shows that the public is really having a low opinion of juvenile court and it is considered the poor stepchild of the adult system because it has not gotten the kind of resources that it needs to help turn kids' lives around, which is also why this legislation is so exciting.
I believe it is viewed as not being able to keep up with the complexities of the problems that Judge Payne talked about, and as a result, the public has become more willing to support trying kids as adults, which the research has shown has actually not become effective.
A year ago my organization issued a report talking about people who went through juvenile court and turned their lives around. Senator Alan Simpson was one of them. Olympic Gold Medalist Bob Beamon was another. Deputy Drug Czar, original Deputy Drug Czar Reggie Walton was another. All of them had repeated arrests as kids and turned their lives around, and I think that I am in support of this legislation because it is giving today's kidsit is really building on the hope for today's generation and giving those kids the same kind of chances that future generations have to become the Alan Simpson's and Bob Beamon's of tomorrow.
Mr. SMITH. Okay. Thank you, Mr. Schiraldi, and thank you all for your testimony.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Schiraldi follows:]
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCPREPARED STATEMENT OF VINCENT SCHIRALDI, FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CENTER ON JUVENILE AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE, WASHINGTON, D.C.
I would like to thank the Committee for inviting me to testify today on the important issue of youth violence and on approaches that Congress could take to both prevent and respond effectively to youth violence and youth crime.
I know that these hearings were scheduled before the tragic shooting that took place in Santana High School in Santee, California earlier this week, and that this legislation and this testimony were not a reaction to that tragedy but were rather to some degree prescient. Still, as I am sure several others who are testifying will do, I cannot help but comment on that nightmare in California as we sit here today to discuss solutions to our nation's youth crime dilemma.
In the face of this tragedy, however, I hope to give this Committee some good news about America's young people that I believe we need to learn from as we proceed with our efforts to confront crime. And that good news is that youth crime, in and out of schools, is at its lowest level in decades, that youth crime, youth violence and youth homicides are all declining sharply in schools, and that today's youth are better behaved on a whole variety of indices than youth of my generation.
In December 2000, the Justice Department and FBI issued a special supplement to its annual Uniform Crime Reportsor UCRanalyzing youth crime data. The report showed a promising 68% reduction in youth homicides since their peak in 1993. Homicides by youth are now at their lowest level since 1966. There were about 3,800 juveniles arrested nationwide for homicides in 1993, and about 1,400 juveniles arrested for homicide in 1999. Homicides by children 12 and under were at their lowest level in the recorded history of the FBI Uniform Crime Reports, which began separating out homicides by pre-teens in 1964. Overall, adults committed ten times as many homicides as juveniles in 1999.
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Other categories of youth crime had also declined sharply in the UCR. Between 1995 and 1999, for example, while violent arrests for adults was declining by 12%, violent arrests for juveniles was declining by 23%almost twice the rate.
The National Crime Victimization Surveyor NCVSis a separate measure of youth and adult crime, which has been surveying over 40,000 households about their crime victimization since 1973. It is considered the most reliable measure of crime by criminologists because it is not affected by annual fluctuations in reporting crimes to policethe Census Bureau asks essentially the same questions year after year, and the Justice Department does the same analysis of that data year after year. In 1998, the last year for which youth crime data from the NCVS is available, overall youth crime was at its lowest rate in the 25-year history of the survey.
Overall, crime in schools has been fairly closely tracking youth crime in general. For example, the number of crimes in schools declined by 29% between 1993 and 1997, closely mirroring the 30% decline in overall youth crime during that period. According to data released by the Justice Department and National Center for Education Statistics, the number of serious violent crimes declined by 34% during that period, students carrying weapons to schools declined by 30%, and there was a 27% decline in violent crime in schools during that time.
The National School Safety Center publishes data every year on school-associated violent deaths. The first year they began recording this data was in the 92/93 school year, a year in which there were 55 school associated violent deaths. In the 97/98 school year, the year in which the Jonesboro, Arkansas school shooting occurred, there were 44 school associated violent deaths. In the 98/99 school year, the year of the Columbine tragedy, there were 30 school associated violent deaths, half of which were accounted for by Columbine. That's a 45% decline since 1992. Last year, there were 16 school associated violent deaths, a 71% decline since 1992. While there is no acceptable level of killing in schools, in a school population of 52 million students, 16 school associated violent deaths works out to less than one in 3 million chance of being killed in one of America's schools. Approximately 16 children die at the hands of their parents or guardians every three days in America, and 99.4% of the times a young person is killed in America, it is outside of a school.
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It is data like this that led the Bi-Partisan Working Group on Youth Violence of the 106th Congress to write:
There are many misconceptions about the prevalence of youth violence in our society and it is important to peel back the veneer of hot-tempered discourse that often surrounds the issue . . . While it important to carefully review the circumstances surrounding these horrifying incidents so that we may learn from them, we must also be cautious about inappropriately creating a cloud of fear over every student in every classroom across the country. In the case of youth violence, it is important to note that, statistically speaking, schools are among the safest places for children to be.
I am spending significant time discussing the data on juvenile crime and school crime for a number of reasons today. For one thing, it is my contention that saturation media coverage of school shootings is serving to profoundly misinform the American public about violence by our young people and in our schools. Despite the fact that youth crime is at the lowest rate in the history of the National Crime Victimization Survey, in a poll taken by the Building Blocks for Youth Initiative, 62% of the public believed that youth crime was on the increase. Despite there being a one in 3 million chance of being killed in one of America's schools, 71% of respondents to a Wall Street Journal poll felt that such a shooting was likely in their school. Despite a 32% decline in school associated violent deaths between 1998 and 1999, respondents to a USA Today poll were 49% more likely to believe that a school shooting was likely in 1999 than in 1998. Overall, despite the fact that this year's graduating class will take drugs less, will binge drink less, will be less violent, will commit fewer crimes, and will have fewer pregnancies during their teenage years than was the case for my graduating high school class in 1977, this generation of adults will think worse of them. It is no more fair to stereotype America's 52 million students as schoolhouse assassins than it is to taint all adults with the sins of Timothy McVeigh. Our kids are good kids, they're the kids on the other side of the yellow tape, weeping over the death of their classmates, just like all the rest of us did. As we set public policy, it is important for us to remember that.
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The other reason I am mentioned this this week is because this is eerily similar to what happened the last time Congress was getting set to consider a very similar bill, co-sponsored by Congressman McCollum and Scott last year. That bill started out as a very reasonable bill designed to provide state and local governments with block grant funds to help them choose locally appropriate approaches to prevent and respond to youth crime, and following a highly publicized school shooting, a raft of amendments were added to the bill which made it so controversial that it was never able to get out of the conference committee. I think it is important that we do everything we can to avoid making that mistake again. Part of the way to do that is to combat the media hype with real information about America's young people.
Finally, the reason I am saying this is because I want to applaud the bill's authors for creating legislation which builds on the hope for the future of our young people, and not just despair over the highly publicized atrocities committed by a few.
Social science research is increasingly showing that well-designed, well-implemented prevention and intervention programs can result in lower rates of delinquency, fewer pregnancies, less drug use, and better school attendance amongst young people. That is not to say that all social programs work, some decidedly do not, some have little or no impact, and some actually make things worse. An excellent story recently ran on the front page of the New York Times, for example, which summarized some of the data on youth employment. My organization is in the final stages of completing a report for the Annie E. Casey Foundation about youth employment which came to similar conclusions as the Times' article, which was that ''just any job'' for a young person can sometimes be harmful. Younger teens, working too many hours can create too much independence, put teens into contact with undesirable adults, put teens under too much stress, and give teens more much spending money than they can responsibly handle.
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That's not to say, however, that no teens should work, or that all job programs are failures, quite the contrary. The report that the Casey Foundation will be publishing this Spring lists creative jobs programs for at-risk youth that comprehensively combine social services, support, job training and development, with job placement. One of the federal government's major jobs programs, JobCorps, has been shown not only to work, but to work well, when it comes to reducing delinquency and improving employment outcomes. Other local, entrepreneurial jobs programs, often developed as public-private partnerships with the business community, are showing promising results nationwide.
Several other programs have been rigorously evaluated and have been found to show measurable results in delinquency prevention and reduction for either at-risk youth, youth who have begun to get in trouble, or youth who have gotten in trouble repeatedly. The Peacemakers Program which was piloted in the Cleveland, Ohio school system and which involves training not only students, but all school personnel from the janitors to the principal on creating an entire atmosphere of non-violence, resulted in a 67% reduction in school suspensions for violence in the year following its introduction. The Quantum Opportunities is a comprehensive graduation incentive program that works with at-risk high-schoolers which has been shown to improve school retention, reduce drug use, and reduce delinquency versus a randomly assigned group of students who did not participate in the program. Multi-systemic family therapy works with youth who have multiple contacts with the law and carefully and closely case-manages them. It has been shown repeatedly in careful studies to significantly reduce offending in groups of delinquent offenders who had already had numerous contacts with the law.
In 1999, in commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the juvenile court, my organization published a book entitled Second Chances. It chronicled 25 stories of adults who, when they were younger, committed felony offenses and were adjudicated delinquent. The list included Olympic Gold Medallist Bob Beamon, who had been arrested repeatedly as a youth and who, after participating in an alternative school, got into sports and shattered the long jump record in the 1968 Olympics by nearly two feet. It included Judge Reggie Walton, who was convicted repeatedly of assault as a youth and who, in 1989, was appointed by President Bush to be the nation's first deputy ''Drug Czar'' under William Bennett. It included San Francisco District Attorney Terence Hallinan, who was arrested so many times for fighting as a youth that he was literally banned from his home county. And it included former Senator Alan Simpson, who served two years on federal probation for destruction of federal property as a teenager before going on to have an illustrious career in elected office.
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The program statistics and studies I gave you are accurate, and they are the result of extensive and rigorous evaluations, but as Aristotle once said ''The soul cannot think without a picture.'' These men, like so many others who went through juvenile court when they were younger, got the opportunity to turn their lives around and made the most of that opportunity, going on to do great things with their lives. No one wants to be forever remembered or defined by the worst act they committed as a youth. I want to commend the committee on this bill, because it gives futures generations of American youth the chance to make a better choice, and become the Alan Simpsons and Bob Beamons of tomorrow.
Mr. SMITH. I want to recognize a couple of Members who have joined us before I ask my questions. They are the gentleman from California, Mr. Schiff, who is a Member of the full Judiciary Committee, and the gentleman from Massachusetts, Mr. Delahunt. And let me say to Mr. Schiff, it has been my policy to always welcome Members of the Full Committee, but to only recognize Members of the Subcommittee for questions.
Mr. SCOTT. Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SMITH. However, if the gentleman from Virginia will let me finish, I would be happy to ask questions if the gentleman has them and I am sure his other colleagues would as well.
Mr. Scott, you had a question.
Mr. SCOTT. In reorganization, he came in after reorganization and expects to be a Member of the Subcommittee.
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Mr. SMITH. Okay. Well, we welcome him as an official Member of the Subcommittee then.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you.
Mr. SMITH. When?
Mr. SCOTT. We are still working on it. [Laughter.]
Mr. SCOTT. I would ask under those circumstances, Mr. Chairman, that he be allowed to fully participate.
Mr. SMITH. Mr. Schiff, we will consider you an official Member of the Subcommittee. We will not make any comments about the reorganizational efforts. [Laughter.]
Mr. DELAHUNT. And Alan Simpson
Mr. SMITH. Mr. Delahunt, please wait till you are recognized. [Laughter.]
Mr. SMITH. Let me address my first question to the two judges, Judge Anderegg and Judge Payne. You both have brought up a subject that caught my attention and that is the possibility that the formula may or may not impact rural areas and urban areas in different respects.
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Judge Anderegg, you mentioned that you thought the rural areas were not, in effect, I guess, getting their fair share of the funds. Judge Payne seemed to think that because of the amount of crime in the urban areas that perhaps the formula as devised is appropriate. Explain, Judge Anderegg, your basis for feeling that the rural areas are not treated fairly.
Judge ANDEREGG. Mr. Chairman, in the conclusion of my written testimony, I referred to this task as a challenging one, and that is exactly what it is. It is not so much a question of unfairness. It is a question of balancing the needs of rural areas with urban areas.
One of the things that happens with this funding formula is that not as much money goesand there are two prongs to itfirst, there is not as much money that goes because of the emphasis on police effort and violent crime, and there is less of that in rural areas, so less of the money is directed to rural areas.
Secondly, the money that goes to urban areas goes to cities. And if what Congress is intending to do is aid courts, prosecutors' offices, and those parts of the juvenile justice system, those are typically not operated by city governments. So it is both an emphasis on urban as opposed to rural and there is a built-in problem with aiding courts by that funding formula.
Mr. SMITH. So you would say it is more structural than a factor of where crime is committed?
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Judge ANDEREGG. It is a choice that Congress made and it is a difficult choice and it is an understandable choice, too, I think, because if the crime is in urban areas, then maybe that is where the Federal dollars should go. What I am saying is the effect is not as many dollars come to rural areas. Rural areas tend to need the money because we don't have the same kind of administrative, research or technical assistance capabilities that urban areas sometimes do.
Mr. SMITH. Understand. Judge Payne.
Judge PAYNE. I have to tell you that I was surprised when we first learned how much our large urban court was going to get, pleasantly, but surprised, and I have to agree with Judge Anderegg, the problem, I think, that the current formula creates, not for usI am satisfied with it franklythat at the local area, at the rural area, it probably doesn't provide them sufficient resources to make significant change.
In other words, we can spread a lot of money around and not do much or we can put money in a location where it really can have an impact. If it is true, though, that much of the violence, rather than the anecdotal violence we have seen with the school shootings, occurs in urban areas, then it probably is appropriate to have more of those funds directed to the urban area.
Mr. SMITH. So you would give up some of your funds to rural areas?
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Judge PAYNE. Only with a protest of a moderate sort.
Mr. SMITH. Okay.
Judge PAYNE. I think the recognition is that what typically occurs in a urban area eventually spills to the suburban and then to the rural area.
Mr. SMITH. Okay.
Judge PAYNE. So that if you don't provide more funding to the more rural areas, you will do that.
Mr. SMITH. Judge Payne, in your written testimony, you mention an important point that I want to ask you to elaborate upon, and that is that repetitive exposure to violence on a random continuous basis has a very negative impact on juveniles, and you mention some Federal studies that have been conducted.
Will you briefly go into the Federal studies and why you think they are important?
Judge PAYNE. There are a number of studies that have been conducted, and one of the sources I think I referred to in my materials, a book written by Colonel David Grossman, who at one point was an adviser to the military on the psychology of killing, who helped investigate the first major school shooting in Kentucky, had indicated that he had testified before Congress on a number of occasions, and that there have been studies over and over again that have been presented to Congress through the Department of Health, through the Department of Education, and others, indicating that violence, and right now what we are doing is surrounding our children with violence.
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It occurs in the TV they watch, the music they listen to, the videos that they have access to, the video games. It occurs as domestic violence and others and there is plenty of research from different areas indicating that this continuous exposure, not one incident, will provide that kind of response butexcuse me. Go ahead.
Mr. SMITH. I was going to say, Judge Payne, I am almost out of time. I want to make the point that I agree with you and I think that that is a ripe subject for another hearing, which is to say the violence we see in the entertainment industry, perhaps on TV, on juvenile crime and we will get to that more at another time. But appreciate your testimony.
Mr. Robinson, I want to squeeze in one more question, and that is in Texas you have had good results. I would like for you to very quickly tell us what those results are, particularly in regards to first-time juvenile offenders.
Mr. ROBINSON. The preliminary numbers indicate that there has been a 14 percent decrease in referrals to the juvenile probation departments since we have instituted graduated sanctions. Now, we aren't able to say that it all is related to the introduction of graduated sanctions.
However, the Criminal Justice Policy Council is in the process of studying that now, and those numbers should be forthcoming as to the exact effect, but what a very major positive effect of this has been is to be able to track the numbers and to see where the actual services are being provided, whereas before you just didn't have that good of data to know what was happening at the local level with the money that was going there.
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Mr. SMITH. Thank you, Mr. Robinson. Before turning to Mr. Scott, I want to welcome the gentleman from Florida, Mr. Keller, and appreciate his attending this hearing as well. Mr. Scott is recognized for his questions.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I think, Judgehow do you pronounce your last nameAnder
Judge ANDEREGG. Anderegg.
Mr. SCOTT.Anderegg mentioned the or someone mentioned the Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Act. That is being reauthorized in another committee. The Education and Workforce Committee has half of that, the primary prevention part of it; the Judiciary Committee has the other half. In the Senate, they are all done in the same committee. But we have them once you are in the criminal justice system. That is the jurisdiction of that Act by the Judiciary Committee. So we hope to see you back.
I also serve on Education and Workforce Committee so I hope to see you back testifying on the other half of it, the primary prevention part, which I think is extremely important, and the core requirements, not locking up status offenders and that kind of thing.
In looking at the bill, we have a list of possible services that you could use the money for. Are any of those optional uses bad or are there any other optional uses that would be helpful?
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Judge ANDEREGG. Mr. Scott, who is the question directed to?
Mr. SCOTT. To whom it may concern.
Judge ANDEREGG. Our experience in Michigan, I think, is that there is enough flexibility in those uses thatand these are the hot issues of juvenile justice. So I think that between the flexibility that we have at the local level, the money that the state can spend, and the fact that these are issues that are serious in juvenile court, I don't see any problem with the listing.
The reservation I have is to say you have to spend ''x'' amount of the dollars in one area, ''x'' amount of dollars in another area.
Mr. SCOTT. Which we do not do in this bill?
Judge ANDEREGG. Right.
Mr. SCOTT. Okay. Yes, sir, Mr. Robinson.
Mr. ROBINSON. Mr. Scott, I would say that a couple of things I am very glad to see in the bill would be the effective early intervention programs to provide early intervention and effective early intervention and then comprehensive services including mental health services.
At the state level, we are overrun with mental health issues, and I would believe that although this money is not directed to the state correctional system as much as it is the local, the more that is handled at the local level, I think the more effective those services are going to be, and there is a dramatic need for those services at the local level.
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Mr. SCOTT. Thank you.
Mr. SCHIRALDI. I don't have any quarrel with any of the uses for the funds in the bill. I do think that it would be good if the bill somehow recognized that a little over half of people who ever come into the juvenile justice system, ever come into contact with it, never come back again, and that only about 8 percent ever get beyond about four contacts with juvenile justice, and that is the 8 percent you get; right?
And the juvenile court has typically over the course of its time used diversion to weed out a number of kids from the front end that if brought deeper into the system might get contaminated by their contact with more serious delinquent youth.
And that is an importantjust like the rural/urban issue, it is important for courts to be able to make that sort of triage decision so that they don't waste resources on kids who get better in the absence of those resources.
Mr. SCOTT. Judge Payne mentioned a proper assessment tool. What does that mean?
Judge PAYNE. There is a process of looking at how do we define what are those strengths or weaknesses, what are the problems or issues? David Hawkins from Seattle, Washington, has an assessment model that looks at a variety of factors in a child when they first come in, and the tendency in our courts right now is the younger you come in and the less serious your offense, the more likely it is we will find a way not to do anything with you.
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In other words, come back when you have done something serious or when you repeat, rather than look at the underlying issues through an assessment tool that gives us a direction so we can put a right person in these graduated sanctions.
Mr. SCOTT. Mr. Robinson, does your graduated sanction provide for services individually tailored to the juvenile?
Mr. ROBINSON. Yes, sir, it does, and in the legislation in Texas the courts have the ability to vary from a sanction level that is recommended in the law as long as in the commitment order or wherever they go, they have an explanation of that. We think that is very powerful and puts the ultimate responsibility and ability to make the decision back at the local level where we believe it should be.
Mr. SCOTT. The bill provides for funding for research. Is that a valuable thing to have in the bill?
Mr. ROBINSON. Absolutely.
Judge ANDEREGG. Absolutely.
Judge PAYNE. Absolutely.
Mr. SCHIRALDI. There are a lot of programs that work well with kids and a lot of programs that just don't. And, you know, if we are going to be honest about this process, we got to get rid of the programs that don't work, defund them, and put our resources into things that work to help turn kids around.
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Judge ANDEREGG. Mr. Scott, I would like to address that, too. That is another thing that the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention has done through a contract. They evaluated more than 400 prevention programs, identified 12 that worked well. The program that Judge Payne referred to, the Title 5 Program for Delinquency Prevention, also heavily relies on research.
There is no magic wand to deal with juveniles, but science is extremely important, and I think science is one of the reasons that we are seeing some reduction, applied science through the Federal effort.
Judge PAYNE. Mr. Chairman, if I can just answer. One of the things that I think might be helpful to look at as part of research in this is information sharing and currently the restrictions that we have, whether it is from education, mental health, drug and alcohol abuse, the restrictions we have in sharing this information early on, both the Federal and state governments, limit the ability to share this information, and what we are doing now is developing models to figure out how we can get that, rather than reevaluating whether or not that information should be available to the experts at this table and the others we address.
We are finding ways to get around what currently restricts rather than looking more closely how can we change those laws to do that. I think research can develop that, particularly with the technology and the ability to access that information more quickly. So when someone makes a threat in a school, we can access information in different parts of a system that serves children to find out whether or not there is something that has been done and needs to be done.
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Mr. SCHIRALDI. Mr. Chairman, if I could just point out that number nine on page three of the bill provides for one of the uses, establishing and maintaining a system of juvenile records, not for the Federal Government to tell you how to do it, but if you are going to use it for a state decided. And also there is a difference between information sharing within agencies and publicizing the name of the juvenile. That is a different issue.
Mr. SCOTT. Correct. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you, Mr. Scott. The gentleman from Wisconsin, Mr. Green, is recognized.
Mr. GREEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to pick up on that last point. It sounds as though the challenges in information sharing, though, are not technological but are legal and we are not talking about sharing information within an entity, but amongst the many players in the juvenile's life. It is beyond the scope of this hearing, I think, but could you possibly identify for us in writing some of those that you face so that we can identify those barriers to information sharing? I think that is a very important point that certainly I would be interested in looking at.
Judge PAYNE. I have tried to do that, sir. In my materials, you will find that I have referred to three: FERPA, the Family Education Privacy Act; I have even cited the mental health law and the drug treatment law that prevents the sharing of that information. It makes it very difficult to do that, and the problem is we ultimately can get it. It is the timing that it takes to do that. Generally, it requires consent and in many of our situations, it is either difficult to get or time consuming to get with current technology.
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Judge ANDEREGG. These are all Federal statutes.
Mr. GREEN. Okay. Thank you. Mr. Schiraldi, in your written testimony you point out rightly, reason for celebration, that some of our crime rates are going down. There are lots of people who want to take credit for that, politicians in both parties. There are lots of us who would like to. I have yet to see, though, any definitive answers as to why our crime rates, juvenile crime rates, actually are decreasing. What are your thoughts that we can point to?
Mr. SCHIRALDI. I think actually that I should get the credit. [Laughter.]
Mr. GREEN. Okay. Well, I will write that down.
Mr. SCHIRALDI. Make note of that. You know people make decisions to do all sorts of things for a whole complex bunch of reasons. I think that if we take a look at some of the major factors that have occurred during the last eight or 9 years when juvenile crime rates have declined sharply, there has been a fantastic improvement in the economy during that period of time that has a doubly positive effect on kids.
One thing it does is it gives them something to do other than hanging on street corners because the unemployment rate has dropped sharply amongst juveniles. I think even more importantly is their parents are employed, which means they are not getting drunk, they are not getting high, and they are not coming home and beating their kids up, which are major factors in the delinquent behaviors of young people.
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I think there has also beenand the other thing about this boom is that it has really reached into economically deprived communities. Not that the poor are partying during this period of time, but the increase in the lowest category of workers has been the greatest in terms of the economic growth. And those are the categories from which most delinquent kids come.
So the economic uptick has been fantastic. I think many local jurisdictions and states have done some things to get guns out of the hands of kids. Particularly, one gun a month laws, for example, have a very good salutary impact on kids. Those kids can't go out and buy guns, but when you look at the surveys of where young people get their guns from, they get them off the black market. If I can only buy one gun a month over in Virginia now, which is the law, there is no profit in me driving back and forth from D.C. once a month to buy that one gun and sell it on the black market, which is where the majority of handguns used by kids came from was Virginia prior to the passage of the one gun a month law.
Then after Virginia passed its law, Maryland became the number one supplier of handguns for kids who commit crimes in D.C., and then Maryland passed a law and they dropped. So some of thoseand, you know, Boston Night Life Program, where they focused particular attention on getting guns out of the hands of kids. Those kinds of things, I think, when you add those two together were responsible, at least for a big chunk of the downturn in juvenile crime. And as someone earlier mentioned, some of those more scientific approaches to crime prevention and abatement, I think, have had their share.
Mr. GREEN. Is some of it population based, demographic, the portion of the population that is what someone once described to be the most productive crime years?
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Mr. SCHIRALDI. No, actually that has gone up over this period of time when the downtick has occurred, plus the figures I gave you were all rates. So the 68-percent decline is in the rate, not the number, of juvenile homicides.
Mr. GREEN. On a related subject, Judge Anderegg, in your testimony you mentioned that despite the fact that arrests are going down, caseloads, your caseloads are high. I don't know if you said they were increasing, but they are high. What is the reason for that?
Judge ANDEREGG. Mr. Green, there are a number of reasons. One is what Judge Payne referred to earlier that we are seeing younger offenders coming in. We are starting to deal, and some of the science that is coming from the Federal effort and with the National Council's help is identifying the fact that kids who are referred at a young age for minor offenses are kids who arethere is a correlation between that kind of referral and future delinquency.
If you look at the charts that are attached to my written testimony, two things that are high, continually high, I mean the violent crime looks like the pig and the python, and maybe that is gone now. But simple arrests are up, and drug use is up. So those are things that tend to drive continuing caseload.
The decline figures come from violent crime, serious property crime. Those are the figures that are being looked at when you look at the decline in crime.
Page 92 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GREEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you, Mr. Green. The gentleman from California, Mr. Schiff, is recognized.
Mr. SCHIFF. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I wanted to congratulate the sponsors of 863 I think for a very important effort. I have been a strong believer in graduated sanctions since my days as a prosecutor and did a lot of work in the area of juvenile justice in the California State Senate.
In fact, we worked on a bill very much like this, the Crime Prevention Act of 2000, which provided one to two hundred million in juvenile justice grants throughout California. So I think that the amount that you have chosen is not at all excessive nationally if we were spending about one to two hundred million in California alone.
I wanted to ask a couple of questions. One is, and I have to say I am not as familiar with the details of the bill as I will be in the future, but one of the key components that we always emphasized in similar efforts in California was to make sure that there was not only an accountability component in terms of making sure that juveniles understood there was consequences to their conduct, which I think is very important, but there was also an accountability function to make sure that the program that was funded via the grant was adequately assessed to make sure it was effective because a lot of times when we had strong intuitive beliefs that things would be successful, such as military style bootcamps, the empirical evidence differed from our expectation. So I wondered if you could comment on what kind of assessment and accountability features there are currently and whether they need to be strengthened?
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I also wanted to ask your thoughts on some of the statistics because I am aware that the juvenile crime rates have fallen from their high point in the early 1990's, but at the same time the economy since the early 1990's has really mushroomed and blossomed beyond anyone's expectation.
The two most reliable indicators I have always found of the crime rate and, in particular, well, of the crime rate generally, were the strength of the economy and the percentage of juveniles in the population. And I guess the question is, and it was suggested, I think, by one of the earlier comments, can we really conclude that there is a downtick in juvenile crime owing to anything other than the strength of the economy, and if the strength of the economy doesn't persist to the same degree, are we likely to see given the increasing percentages of juveniles in the population a commensurate increase in juvenile crime?
So if you could address those two points, the one about do we have adequate assessment tools to make sure that we are funding programs that actually work and, number two, do we have any reason to believe that anything other than the economy is resulting in the lower current juvenile crime rates?
Judge PAYNE. If I may, sir, I will take the first shot at that since we operate a JAIBG program and several of them. First of all, our state plan requires an evaluation component. So when dollars go into a particular program, part of those dollars have to use an evaluation process. What we have done in our court is use Indiana University and the Hudson Institute. And they are actually going to provide evaluations for our programs.
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We started ours April 1 of last year and we don't have, therefore, enough history yet, but we are requiring reporting by name and a number of other factors that then go to Indiana University researchers and the Hudson Institute to provide us an evaluation mechanism. I assume that is true that in other jurisdictions.
Mr. SCHIFF. Is it currently, though, a requirement of this legislation that in exchange for receiving grants under this program that the state or locality do an assessment to make sure that it is effective?
Judge PAYNE. Perhaps someone else can answer that. That has not been the tradition of grants from the Federal process, but I understand it is becoming more frequent to do that.
Judge ANDEREGG. Mr. Schiff, I believe that the accountability that you are talking about will come with Federal audit of how these funds are expended. There is nothing in the bill, as I understand it, that addresses that specifically, although there is a set-aside at the Federal level for research evaluation, technical assistance and training. Well, there was technical assistance and training, but that has come out. Another
Mr. SCOTT. Does the Federal audit, though, generally audit the expenditures to make sure that they are going to the program for which they were intended or rather not only have they gone to that program, but the program has gotten good results?
Judge ANDEREGG. Well, I think that both things are true, and part of this process that we are engaged in here, I think, is about whether these programs are successful or not. These programs are very new.
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My main concern is not so much are they being effective, but how are they being used in terms of the whole spectrum of juvenile justice. When you talk about graduated sanctions, you are talking about kids who are already in the system and local jurisdictions have a lot of latitude in how these funds are spent. And so my concern is how are they being spent in relation to the whole of juvenile justice and I have addressed that in my written testimony, too.
Mr. SCHIRALDI. I would like to take a shot at the second. First of all, I think you are absolutely right. I think that there needs to be better analysis of whether these programs work or not because it would be a shame to get to the end of this funding and not know the answer to that question.
And I don't see it as a requirement in here, and I don't think the Federal audits would make it so. So it might be something that the committee wants to address or address in the funding of OJJDP as they are getting reauthorized.
But the other part, I think that your question about the economy is a very good one. I think that there is certainly a realistic possibility that if the economy tanks that we will be challenged with rising juvenile crime, and the big increases we saw prior to 1993 coincided with, you know, worse economy than we have today, and I think that is one of the major factors that hopefully this kind of funding will help states prepare themselves better for. In the absence of this, the states with, you know, budget deficits are having a tough time, as you know, from your experience in legislating in California.
These are the kinds of things that often get cut first, these kind of prevention and intervention programs. So this would be a nice Federal initiative that would spur on that kind of attention to prevention and intervention for troubled kids.
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Judge PAYNE. If I may support that, and I know that time is fleeting here. My wife tells me to take a breath when I am talking. I don't recall taking one yet, but I am sure I have somewhere along the line.
I agree with the question, and this is only my perception, but in our court system delinquency has gone down, but what has gone up is abuse and neglect. And so what we gain in one area, we may reap in another, and I asked here in Washington at a meeting one time recently about that, and the general opinion was that in good economic times, crime delinquency goes down, but that abuse and neglect goes up.
Kids don't need to steal things when they have in good economic times that which they want, but that when parents have money to go out to dinner, out to games, out, when they have money for drugs and alcohol, then abuse and neglect increases, and we have seen in our court that delinquency has gone down, almost 25 percent, but abuse and neglect over the last 3 years has doubled. And serious abuse and neglect. I am not talking about just leaving a child at home. I am talking about physical and sexual abuse, and severe kinds of cases.
So we have seen a doubling of our abuse and neglect, and you will see in statistics that compare the increase in the foster care over the last couple of years, so we have this interesting phenomena. We like good economic times, crime goes down, but the abuse and neglect concurrently has gone up significantly.
Judge ANDEREGG. Mr. Schiff, I might make two additional brief comments. One is that if you look at the juvenile crime rate, we are looking at
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Mr. SCHIFF. If you go on much longer, the chair will never let me ask another question. [Laughter.]
Judge ANDEREGG. My two points are the window that we are looking at is 20 years, and there have been good times and bad times in that 20 years. This last most recent upsurge and downturn in juvenile crime is very unusual.
Secondly, the most recent numbers we have are from 1999, and I made that point in my written testimony also. And we don't know what has happened since then.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you, Mr. Schiff. This is the first time where I have seen every single panel member reply to any question that has been asked. I think Mr. Scott set the precedent today with his first question, as I recall.
The gentleman from Georgia, Mr. Barr, is recognized.
Mr. BARR. I have no questions.
Mr. SMITH. Okay. We will go to the gentleman from Massachusetts, Mr. Delahunt.
Mr. DELAHUNT. Yes, thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I appreciate your concerns about information sharing because it has been my experience that treatment, if it is to be effective, really has to be multifaceted. When you talk about the 12 programs that work, I dare say that none of them are discrete in the sense that they don't involve either multiple agencies, multiple civic organizations or whatever.
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And that is really a problem in terms of treatment. The ability to share that information which is designed to treat as opposed to punish, if you will, for lack of a better term. As I am sitting here reflecting and, Mr. Robinson, I think your observation about mental health resources is really significant. I think that is true also in the adult correctional system as well as the juvenile justice system.
And I really want to compliment the chair and the Ranking Member in terms of cobbling together what I think is an excellent piece of legislation, but they might want to consider not tinkering with the substance but doing something in terms of drafting a set of findings that could highlightI think this has been an excellent panel, by the way, and there seems to be much commonality of agreement in terms of what the reality isbut a finding about the need for additional mental health resources, a finding about the problems in terms of information sharing, because again those programs that are most effective involve multiple agencies.
And also I am convinced that finally the juvenile justice system understands that to treat the juvenile without doing a full assessment of the family really is just wasting resources.
Another important, I think, finding would be, and I think this is important to convey to the American people, is that what they perceive to be the truth about the system and about youth violence isn't accurate, and I think we really, we have an obligation to get that message out because the statistics that you quote, Mr. Schiraldi, I think are striking, particularly when it wasn't too long ago thatI think it was a new official in the Administration, Professor DiIulio, was describing the generation of super-predators that were going to descend upon us just during this time when we have seen, rather than a spike, a decline in the level of juvenile crime.
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He since has acknowledged that he was mistaken and we can all share that particular truth also, that often we are mistaken. And it is good to have that scientific data. But I would ask, and I know Mr. Schiraldi is here in Washington, if he would consider communicating, because this is a very diverse panel that represents different parts of the Country and I am sure different perspectives, but I think it is important to include some findings in there and a job well done.
I also will say, Mr. Schiraldi, I think that the juvenile justice system deserves some credit for the decline, not just simply the economy, because it was up until the late 1970's, and you are talking about the spike up, if you will, in neglect and abuse which let us equate that with the issue of domestic violence, family violence, really it was only into the late 1970's that we really started to focus attention on that particular dynamic.
In fact, I will take credit. I was a district attorney in the greater Boston area, and back in 1979, we initiated the first domestic violence program in the Country, in the entire United States. I remember people saying to me what are you talking about?
So it has only been a 20-year effort in terms of focusing on the relationship between abuse, neglect, and family violence and the predators out in the street. I mean violence does not stop at the threshold of the home. It spawns, you know, violence in the community and clearly there is this relationship, and the fact that the numbers are showing a spike up in terms of abuse and neglect, I think, reflect the fact that communities, whether it is prosecutors, police, schools, et cetera, are finally getting to that realization that the relationship, the nexus, if you will, between domestic violence and crime is real, and if there isI am not suggesting there isif there is one single answer, it is focusing in on the legacy of family violence which is crime, period, whether it be juvenile crime or adult crime.
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Mr. SMITH. I think that was a statement and not question. At least I am hoping it was a statement and not a question. Thank you, Mr.
Mr. DELAHUNT. Anyone want to comment on that?
Mr. SCHIRALDI. Can I give one or two comments on that?
Mr. SMITH. Of course, Mr. Schiraldi.
Mr. SCHIRALDI. The one point I wanted to focus in on was the notion that comprehensiveness of programming is important, particularly for kids with multiple problems and multiple contacts with the law, because some programs actually focus on kids who have had several contacts with the law and like the Multi-Systemic Therapy Program, Quantum Opportunities, and JobCorps, all of those programs are either focusing on kids with multiple problems or multiple contacts.
And if you take a look at JobCorps and, say, compare it to some of the standard sort of youth employment programs, where they just kind of get the kid any job because they have to, the data on those shows that kids who work too many hours at too young an age actually take more drugs and commit more crimes. It is not necessarily a good thing for kids.
But Jobcorps takes a kid that has started to have some problems, they may be missing school or may be from a family that is breaking up, and they are starting to use drugs, and they put them in a residential setting, they train them on employment, they train them on job skills, they help them find employment upon release, they follow them up, and they help with mental health issues if that is an issue, and the data on that has shown to reduce subsequent delinquency versus control groups
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Mr. SMITH. The gentleman from Massachusetts is recognized for an additional half minute.
Mr. DELAHUNT. But just let me interrupt, and I think maybe it was Judge Payne that made this point, but that has got to happen at the first contact. We are waiting too long now, and that is the problem in terms of looking at graduated sanctions as the answer. Because it is not kicking in the kind of treatment and this comprehensive aspect of treatment that should happen, I would say at a diversion level. I think, you know, in fact, the whole concept of juvenile diversion was initiated by a former prosecutor out in Michigan.
Mr. SMITH. Mr. Delahunt, don't get Judge Payne started here. Thank you, Mr. Delahunt. The gentleman from Florida, Mr. Keller, is recognized.
Mr. KELLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I just have a question regarding recidivism and let me give you the first crack at it, Mr. Robinson. My sense as someone who before getting elected to Congress I headed up a mentoring program for at-risk kids, and we had a good success by getting each child a mentor, having them stay in school.
But yet I was frustrated on the back end that kids who were violent offenders who got out of the facility essentially did it again. I think we got about a 70 percent recidivism rate. As someone who was on the front lines here, I notice that some of the money that we will be spending here is for accountability based programs designed to reduce recidivism. Tell me what programs work; what should we be thinking about funding? Does anything work at all in terms or reducing recidivism, especially for violent youth offenders?
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Mr. ROBINSON. Mr. Keller, in Texas, our recidivism rate has dropped steadily since 1995 and our recidivism rate for those going through the normal program in TYC is about 49 percent now. We are not necessarily saying that is great, but
Mr. KELLER. Right.
Mr. ROBINSON [continuing]. We are getting better at it. We also offer mentoring programs inside our institutions because we recognize how important that would be.
Specifically, though, about the legislation and the type of programs that work are going to be programs that recognize the child early on is having certain types of problems, not necessarily criminal problems, but behavior problems, other mental health problems, whatever the case might be, and plug them into a system that cares for that child. And mentoring programs are one of them.
Any parent, Parents as Teachers, any childany of these type of programs that recognize early intervention as being part of a successful system, I would say that that is what has to happen.
Mr. KELLER. So the key to having a better recidivism rate is getting involved on the front end?
Mr. ROBINSON. Absolutely, and the best part about that is those kids never get into the system to be part of the recidivism rate.
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Mr. KELLER. Sure.
Mr. ROBINSON. And then recidivism rates themselves, if a kid is involved in probation programs or state correctional programs, is going to be the fact that it is treatment. You can't punish kids out of criminal behavior. I really don't believe that. That can be a small piece of it, but rehabilitation, education, treatment programs are what is going to change behavior.
Mr. KELLER. Let me ask the judge. I know you send folks to different programs. Anything that has been particularly successful in reducing recidivism?
Judge PAYNE. Let me answer that and then perhaps Judge Anderegg can from his jurisdiction. OJJDP in July 1998 published a document that lists what works, what doesn't and what looks promising, and at the top of the list was actually the program that you mentioned, mentoring. Mentoring works. Each one teach one. Each child who needchildren need three things to be successful. They need an empathetic caring adult, a strong safe school environment, and a strong set of character or values, morals, whatever you want to call it, that carries through with their life.
But top of that list is an empathetic caring adult, hopefully a family member. If not a family member, a coach, a teacher, an aunt, and uncle, someone who can make a difference. Mentoring is the one program that works. Even leaving the corrections environment, providing a mentor after that correction environment increases dramatically the success, but I will get you a copy of that if you would like. It is a wonderful document.
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Mr. KELLER. Thank you, Judge.
Judge ANDEREGG. Just a couple of brief comments, Mr. Keller. One is that you need to be careful when you use recidivism as a measure because you can play with it. If you look at the wide spectrum from division programs to training school programs, you are going to get one picture of recidivism. It depends on how long you measure. If you measure recidivism after 6 months or after a year or after 2 years, you adjust that rate.
And so you need to be cautious when you look at recidivism. The other thing you need to keep in mind is what Mr. Schiraldi said earlier, 59 percent of the kids who get referred to juvenile court never come back. And so I think the recidivism rate for juvenile court tends to be better than for adult court.
Mr. KELLER. I yield back my time, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you, Mr. Keller. Let me thank all Members for their attendance today and let me also observe what I think was evident to anyone who was here, and that is I don't know of any other subcommittee in Congress that has the levels of expertise dealing with the subject that is under the jurisdiction of this Subcommittee as does this Subcommittee.
Clearly, everybody here has great expertise and great experience in issues related to crime, and I think that is very helpful to us and to the Congress and to America. Also, let me thank you panelists for being here as well. You all have been very, very helpful, and let me say that we expect, and Mr. Scott and I have been discussing this, that we hope to mark-up this bill within a couple of weeks.
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I guess the target is, in fact, 2 weeks or so away, and we hope to expedite this bill as well and see it become law this year, which I think will make us all happy. Thank you again for being here and we stand adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 3:10 p.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF HON. LAMAR SMITH, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS
Today the Subcommittee on Crime holds its first hearing of the 107th Congress. And it seems fitting that for our first hearing we will focus on a bill that addresses the place where a career of crime often begins with juvenile offenders.
In 1999, law enforcement agencies made an estimated 2.5 million juvenile arrests. In fact, juvenile arrests accounted for 17% of all arrests and 16% of all violent crime arrests. In the vast majority of these cases, juveniles are treated differently than adult offenders, in terms of the courts that adjudicate them, how and where they are confined, and for how long they are under the custody and control of the government.
In recent years, experts in the area of juvenile crime have begun to urge that more attention be paid to juvenile offenders, and at earlier times in their lives. At hearings held by the Crime Subcommittee in the last Congress, a broad consensus was expressed by the witnesses that government needs to address juvenile misconduct earlier than we do at present, that government at all levels should dedicate more funds to the juvenile justice system, that state and localities should be given more flexibility in using Federal funds for this purpose, and that judges needs a greater range of sanctions to address juvenile wrongdoing.
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A system of punishment, commonly called ''graduated sanctions,'' would ensure that juvenile offenders learn that there are consequences to their actions each time they misbehave, beginning with the first time. The witnesses testified that by sanctioning juvenile offenders from their first act of delinquency, and by employing increased sanctions each successive time they misbehave, we are far more likely to break the cycle of delinquency that often leads juveniles into more serious crimes in their late teens or early adult years.
As a result of that hearing, my predecessor as chairman of the Subcommittee, Rep. Bill McCollum, together with the Ranking Minority Member of the Subcommittee, Mr. Scott, introduced H.R. 1501. That bill, which was co-sponsored by all of the Members of the Crime Subcommittee, would have provided funds to states to strength their juvenile justice systems.
To be eligible for these funds, states must agree to implement a system of graduated sanction for juvenile offenders. While that bill passed the House by a vote of 287139, a number of amendments were added to the bill on the floor. As a result, the House and Senate were unable to agree on a final version of that bill and it did not become law.
I am pleased that Mr. Scott has joined me in this new Congress to introduce H.R. 863, the ''Consequences for Juvenile Offenders Act of 2001,'' a bill identical to H.R. 1501 as reported by the subcommittee in the 106th Congress. And I am very appreciative that all Members of the Subcommittee have agreed to co-sponsor this bill. I hope that we will be able to move it through this Congress unhampered by provisions addressing other issues.
Page 107 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Today we will hear from four witnesses who deal with juvenile offenders every daytwo juvenile court judges, the executive director of the Texas Youth Commission, and the founder of a non-profit organization that develops programs to address juvenile delinquency. They know first-hand the problems that juveniles face, and how best government can intervene in the lives of juvenile offenders to turn them from further crime and toward productive lives. I look forward to hearing from these witnesses about steps the Federal government can take to help states and local governments address the problem of juvenile crime.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF HON. BOB BARR, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF GEORGIA
Mr. Chairman, thank you for this hearing on the Consequences for Juvenile Offenders Act of 2001. I am pleased to join all of my colleagues here on the Subcommittee in cosponsoring this legislation.
Looking at recent criminal statistics, I see both good news and bad news. The latest juvenile arrest figures show that violent teenage crime is down, yet those numbers are problematic. Take 1999, for instance, 16 percent of all violent criminal arrests were juveniles. Look a little deeper, 9 percent of murder arrests were juveniles. Evidence shows that those who commit murder, have committed lesser crimes prior.
So how to deal with juvenile crimes present us with a two-fold problem: 1. How do we make sure that the juvenile is properly punished, and 2. Can we stop that juvenile down the road to a criminal adulthood. The answer is not simple. However, we are seeing younger and younger children getting involved in very serious crimes. Though older teens, 16 years and older, are not unique to the system, children as young as 10 or 11 are now getting their start in crime. This is really new territory for legislators. Additionally, with some teens committing crimes at younger ages, the juvenile system is not really designed to set up gradually tougher penalties. The states are starting to adapt, but they could use help. That is why, I believe that Congress should pass H.R. 863 this year.
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Mr. Chairman, I would also like to say that this legislation became a ''catch all'' with nearly 50 amendments proposed when this bill came before the House in 1999. Ultimately, many of us on this Subcommittee may have more proposals to address the juvenile crime issue, but we should take this bipartisan bill and not allow it to be hijacked again. I look forward to working with you and the rest of this Subcommittee on passing this bill.